G.R. No. 130756, 21 January 1999, SCRA 605


Petitioner Ester B. Maralit filed three complaints for estafa through falsification of commercial documents through reckless imprudence against respondent Jesusa Corazon L. Imperial. Maralit alleged that she was assistant manager of the Naga City branch of the PNB; that on May 20, 1992, June 1, 1992, and July 1, 1992 respondent Imperial separately deposited in her savings account at the PNB three United States treasury warrants and on the same days withdrew their peso equivalent of P59,216.86, P130,743.60, and P130,326.00, respectively; and that the treasury warrants were subsequently returned one after the other by the United States Treasury, through the Makati branch of the Citibank, on the ground that the amounts thereof had been altered. Maralit claimed that, as a consequence, she was held personally liable by the PNB for the total amount of P320,287.30.

In her counter-affidavit, respondent claimed that she merely helped a relative, Aida Abengoza, encash the treasury warrants; that she deposited the treasury warrants in her savings account and then withdrew their peso equivalent with the approval of petitioner; that she gave the money to Aida Abengoza; that she did not know that the amounts on the treasury warrants had been altered nor did she represent to petitioner that the treasury warrants were genuine; and that upon being informed of the dishonor of the warrants she immediately contacted Aida Abengoza and signed an acknowledgment of debt promising to pay the total amount of the treasury warrants.

MTC acquitted Imperial but held her civilly liable as indorser of the checks which are the subject matter of the criminal action. The RTC held that the decision of the MTC did not really find respondent liable for P320,286.46 because in fact it was petitioner who was found responsible for making the defraudation possible.


Whether or not respondent is civilly liable as indorser of the checks subject matter of the criminal action.


The Court symphatizes with the complainant that there was indeed damage and loss, but said loss is chargeable to the accused who upon her indorsements warrant that the instrument is genuine in all respect what it purports to be and that she will pay the amount thereof in case of dishonor. (Sec. 66 Negotiable Instrument Law)

Thus, while the MTC found petitioner partly responsible for the encashment of the altered checks, it found respondent civilly liable because of her indorsements of the treasury warrants, in addition to the fact that respondent executed a notarized acknowledgment of debt promising to pay the total amount of said warrants.

*Case digest by Legine S. Ramayla, JD-IV, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2019-2020