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Consolidated Bank and Trust Corp v.

CA and LC Diaz Company

GR No. 138569
Sept 11, 2003


LC Diaz (LC) through its cashier Mercedes Macaraya (Macaraya) sent Ismael Calarpe (Calarpe) to
deposit money with Solid Bank (Solid). He went to teller No.6 and left with her 2 deposit slips and a
passbook as he had some business with allied bank. When Calarpe came back the passbook was already
gone as someone had already taken it, as stated by the teller. The teller could no remember who had
taken it
On a later date Teller No. 6 gave Macaraya a deposit slip for the deposit of a check from Philippine
banking corporation (PBC) but the same was dishonored as the account of the check had already been
closed. LC Diaz through its CEO, Luis Diaz (Luis) called up Solid Bank to stop any transaction from the
missing passbook until they could open a new account. On the same day, it was found out that there was
an unauthorized withdrawal worth 300k, which had authorized signatories who were Diaz and Rustico
Murrilo (Diaz and Rustico). Such signatories denied signing the same, and a certan Noel Tamayo (Tamayo)
received the 300k
A case was filed against Emerano Ilagan (Ilagan) and Roscon Verdazola (Verdazola) for estafa and
falsification of commercial document. LC through its counsel demanded Solid Bank to return the money
but they refused. Hence LC filed a complaint for the recovery of sum of money against solid bank before
the RTC of Manila.
The RTC absolved Solid and dismissed the complaint stating that there was a presumption oof
ownership on those who possesses the passbookand that the depositor should have kept the passbook
under lock and key. The CA reversed the decision stating that it should have exercised diligence that was
more than a good father of a family as a bank is impressed with public interest.

Whether Solid Bank is liable due to quasi delict
No, solid bank is liable for the loss of the 300k based on the ground of culpa contractual.

The contract between the bank and its depositor is governed by the provisions of the Civil Code
on simple loan (Article 1980, Civil Code). There is a debtor-creditor relationship between the bank and its
depositor. The bank is the debtor and the depositor is the creditor. The depositor lends the bank money
and the bank agrees to pay the depositor on demand. The savings deposit agreement between the bank
and the depositor is the contract that determines the rights and obligations of the parties.

Under their contract, it is the duty of LC Diaz to secure its passbook. However, this duty is also
applicable to Solidbank when it gains possession of said passbook which it did when the messenger left it
to the bank’s possession through the bank’s teller. The act of the teller returning the passbook to someone
else other than Calapre, the firm’s authorized messenger, is a clear breach of contract. Such negligence
binds the bank under the principle of respondeat superior or command responsibility.

However, mitigating damages must be applied since Under Article 1172, "liability (for culpa
contractual) may be regulated by the courts, according to the circumstances." This means that if the
defendant exercised the proper diligence in the selection and supervision of its employee, or if the plaintiff
was guilty of contributory negligence, then the courts may reduce the award of damages. In this case, L.C.
Diaz was guilty of contributory negligence in allowing a withdrawal slip signed by its authorized signatories
to fall into the hands of an impostor. Thus, the liability of Solidbank should be reduced.

WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. Petitioner
Solidbank Corporation shall pay private respondent L.C. Diaz and Company, CPA's only 60% of the actual
damages awarded by the Court of Appeals. The remaining 40% of the actual damages shall be borne by
private respondent L.C. Diaz and Company, CPA's. Proportionate costs.