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3 SCRA 596 Mercantile Law Negotiable Instruments
Law Rights of the Holder What Constitutes a Holder
in Due Course Is a payee a holder in due course?
Matilde Gonzales was a patient of the De Ocampo Clinic
owned by Vicente De Ocampo. She incurred a debt
amounting to P441.75. Her husband, Manuel Gonzales
designed a scheme in order to pay off this debt: In
1953, Manuel went to a certain Anita Gatchalian. Manuel
purported himself to be selling the car of Vicente De
Ocampo. Gatchalian was interested in buying said car
but Manuel told her that De Ocampo will only sell the
car if Gatchalian shows her willingness to pay for it.
Manuel advised Gatchalian to draw a check of P600.00
payable to De Ocampo so that Manuel may show it to De
Ocampo and that Manuel in the meantime will hold it for
safekeeping. Gatchalian agreed and gave Manuel the
check. After that, Manuel never showed himself to
Meanwhile, Manuel gave the check to his wife who in
turn gave the check to De Ocampo as payment of her
bills with the clinic. De Ocampo received the check and
even gave Matilde her change (sukli). On the other
hand, since Gatchalian never saw Manuel again, she
placed a stop-payment on the P600.00 check so De Ocampo
was not able to cash on the check. Eventually, the
issue reached the courts and the trial court ordered
Gatchalian to pay De Ocampo the amount of the check.
Gatchalian argued that De Ocampo is not entitled to
payment because there was no valid indorsement. De
Ocampo argued tha he is a holder in due course because
he is the named payee.
ISSUE: Whether or not De Ocampo is a holder in due
HELD: No. Section 52 of the Negotiable Instruments Law,
defines holder in due course, thus:
A holder in due course is a holder who has taken the
instrument under the following conditions:
(a) That it is complete and regular upon its face;
(b) That he became the holder of it before it was
overdue, and without notice that it had been previously
dishonored, if such was the fact;
(c) That he took it in good faith and for value;
(d) That at the time it was negotiated to him he had no
notice of any infirmity in the instrument or defect in
the title of the person negotiating it.
The Supreme Court emphasized that if one is such a
holder in due course, it is immaterial that he was the
payee and an immediate party to the instrument. The
Supreme Court however ruled that De Ocampo is not a
holder in due course for his lack of good faith. De
Ocampo should have inquired as to the legal title of
Manuel to the said check. The fact that Gatchalian has
no obligation to De Ocampo and yet hes named as the
payee in the check hould have apprised De Ocampo; that
the check did not correspond to Matilde Gonzales
obligation with the clinic because of the fact that it
was for P600.00 more than the indebtedness; that why
was Manuel in possession of the check all these gave
De Ocampo the duty to ascertain from the holder Manuel
Gonzales what the nature of the latters title to the
check was or the nature of his possession.