143 SCRA 20 (1986)
Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) is a government owned and controlled corporation created under Republic Act No. 6234 as the successor-in- interest of the defunct NWSA. The Philippine National Bank (PNB), on the other hand, is the depository bank of MWSS and its predecessor-in-interest NWSA. Among the several accounts of NWSA with PNB is NWSA Account No. 6, otherwise known as Account No. 381-777 and which is presently allocated No. 010-500281. The authorized signature for said Account No. 6 were those of MWSS treasurer Jose Sanchez, its auditor Pedro Aguilar, and its acting General Manager Victor L. Recio. Their respective specimen signatures were submitted by the MWSS to and on file with the PNB. By special arrangement with the PNB, the MWSS used personalized checks in drawing from this account. These checks were printed for MWSS by its printer, F. Mesina Enterprises, located at 1775 Rizal Extension, Caloocan City.
During the months of March, April and May 1969, twenty-three (23) checks were prepared, processed, issued and released by NWSA, all of which were paid and cleared by PNB and debited by PNB against NWSA Account No. 6. During the same months of March, April and May 1969, twenty-three (23) checks bearing the same numbers as the aforementioned NWSA checks were likewise paid and cleared by PNB and debited against NWSA Account No. 6.
The foregoing checks were deposited by the payees Raul Dizon, Arturo Sison and Antonio Mendoza in their respective current accounts with the Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank (PCIB) and Philippine Bank of Commerce (PBC) in the months of March, April and May 1969. Thru the Central Bank Clearing, these checks were presented for payment by PBC and PCIB to the defendant PNB, and paid, also in the months of March, April and May 1969. At the time of their presentation to PNB these checks bear the standard indorsement which reads ‘all prior indorsement and/or lack of endorsement guaranteed. Subsequent investigation however, conducted by the NBI showed that Raul Dizon, Arturo Sison and Antonio Mendoza were all fictitious persons.
On June 11, 1969, NWSA addressed a letter to PNB requesting the immediate restoration to its Account No. 6, of the total sum of P3,457,903.00 corresponding to the total amount of these twenty-three (23) checks claimed by NWSA to be forged and/or spurious checks. “In view of the refusal of PNB to credit back to Account No. 6 the said total sum of P3,457,903.00 MWSS filed the instant complaint on November 10, 1972 before the Court of First Instance of Manila.
In its answer, PNB contended among others, that the checks in question were regular on its face in all respects, including the genuineness of the signatures of authorized NWSA signing officers and there was nothing on its face that could have aroused any suspicion as to its genuineness and due execution and; that NWSA was guilty of negligence which was the proximate cause of the loss.
PNB also filed a third party complaint against the negotiating banks PBC and PCIB on the ground that they failed to ascertain the Identity of the payees and their title to the checks which were deposited in the respective new accounts of the payees with them.
In not holding that as the signatures on the checks were forged, the drawee bank was liable for the loss under section 23 of the Negotiable Instruments Law.
The argument has no merit. The records show that the respondent drawee bank, had taken the necessary measures in the detection of forged checks and the prevention of their fraudulent encashment. In fact, long before the encashment of the twenty-three (23) checks in question, the respondent Bank had issued constant reminders to all Current Account Bookkeepers informing them of the activities of forgery syndicates.
We cannot fault the respondent drawee Bank for not having detected the fraudulent encashment of the checks because the printing of the petitioner’s personalized checks was not done under the supervision and control of the Bank. There is no evidence on record indicating that because of this private printing the petitioner furnished the respondent Bank with samples of checks, pens, and inks or took other precautionary measures with the PNB to safeguard its interests.
Under the circumstances, therefore, the petitioner was in a better position to detect and prevent the fraudulent encashment of its checks.
*Case digest by Bryne Angelo M. Brillantes, LLB IV, Andres Bonifacio College – School of Law, SY 2019-2020