G.R. No. L-22405, 30 June 1971, 39 SCRA 587


On April 18, 1958 Enrique Montinola sought to purchase from the Manila Post Office ten (10) money orders of P200.00 each payable to E.P. Montinola withaddress at Lucena, Quezon. After the postal teller had made out money orders numbered 124685, 124687-124695, Montinola offered to pay for them with a private checks were not generally accepted in payment of money orders, the teller advised him to see the Chief of the Money Order Division, but instead of doing so, Montinola managed to leave building with his own check and the ten (10) money orders without the knowledge of the teller.

On the same date, April 18, 1958, upon discovery of the disappearance of the unpaid money orders, an urgent message was sent to all postmasters, and the following day notice was likewise served upon all banks, instructing them not to pay anyone of the money orders aforesaid if presented for payment. The Bank of America received a copy of said notice three days later. The following day it deposited the same with the Bank of America.

Postmaster Enrico Palomar, notified the Bank of America that money order No. 124688 attached to his letter had been found to have been irregularly issued and that, in view thereof, the amount it represented had been deducted from the bank’s clearing account. The Bank of America debited appellant’s account with the same account and give notice by mean of debit memo.


Whether the postal money order in question is a negotiable instrument.


No. It is not disputed that the Philippine postal statutes were patterned after similar statutes in force in United States. The weight of authority in the United States is that postal money orders are not negotiable instruments (Bolognesi vs. U.S. 189 Fed. 395; U.S. vs. Stock Drawers National Bank, 30 Fed. 912), the reason behind this rule being that, in establishing and operating a postal money order system, the government is not engaging in commercial transactions but merely exercises a governmental power for the public benefit.

Moreover, not being a party to the understanding existing between the postal officers, on the one hand, and the Bank of America, on the other, appellant has no right to assail the terms and conditions thereof on the ground that the letter setting forth the terms and conditions aforesaid is void because it was not issued by a Department Head in accordance with Sec. 79 (B) of the Revised Administrative Code.

*Case digest by Paul Jason G. Acasio, JD-IV, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2019-2020