Republic Bank v. Ebrada

65 SCRA 680 (1975)

FACTS:

On or about February 27, 1963 defendant Mauricia T. Ebrada, encashed Back Pay Check No. 508060 dated January 15, 1963 for P1,246.08 at the main office of the plaintiff Republic Bank at Escolta, Manila. The check was issued by the Bureau of Treasury. Plaintiff Bank was later advised by the said bureau that the alleged indorsement on the reverse side of the aforesaid check by the payee, “Martin Lorenzo” was a forgery since the latter had allegedly died as of July 14, 1952. Plaintiff Bank was then requested by the Bureau of Treasury to refund the amount of P1,246.08. To recover what it had refunded to the Bureau of Treasury, plaintiff Bank made verbal and formal demands upon defendant Ebrada to account for the sum of P1,246.08, but said defendant refused to do so. So plaintiff Bank sued defendant Ebrada before the City Court of Manila.

On July 11, 1966, defendant Ebrada filed her answer denying the material allegations of the complaint and as affirmative defenses alleged that she was a holder in due course of the check in question, or at the very least, has acquired her rights from a holder in due course and therefore entitled to the proceeds thereof. She also alleged that the plaintiff Bank has no cause of action against her; that it is in estoppel, or so negligent as not to be entitled to recover anything from her.

On March 21, 1967, the City Court of Manila rendered judgment for the plaintiff Bank against defendant Ebrada.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the lower court erred in ordering the appellant to pay the appellee the face value of the subject check after finding that the drawer issued the subject check to a person already deceased for 11-½ years and that the appellant did not benefit from encashing said check.

RULING:

Where a check is drawn payable to the order of one person and is presented to a bank by another and purports upon its face to have been duly indorsed by the payee of the check, it is the duty of the bank to know that the check was duly indorsed by the original payee, and where the bank pays the amount of the check to a third person, who has forged the signature of the payee, the loss falls upon the bank who cashed the check, and its only remedy is against the person to whom it paid the money.

With the foregoing doctrine We are to concede that the plaintiff Bank should suffer the loss when it paid the amount of the check in question to defendant-appellant, but it has the remedy to recover from the latter the amount it paid to her. Although the defendant-appellant to whom the plaintiff Bank paid the check was not proven to be the author of the supposed forgery, yet as last indorser of the check, she has warranted that she has good title to it even if in fact she did not have it because the payee of the check was already dead 11 years before the check was issued.

*Case digest by Bryne Angelo M. Brillantes, LLB IV, Andres Bonifacio College – School of Law, SY 2019-2020

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