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Areza v.

Express Savings Bank 063

GR No. 176697, 10 September 2014, Perez, J.
Digested by PTJZU • Law 108 – Negotiable Instruments

Maker: Mambuay | Drawee: PVAO | Payee: Areza (Eventually) | Amount: P200k x 9checks
Areza presented the checks to ESB (their bank), ESB presented to Equitable, Equitable presented
to PVAO. PVAO approved (follow the chain back) so ESB credited the amount to Areza’s
savings. PVAO eventually informed Equitable that they are dishonoring the checks because it
was altered. Equitable debited ESB’s account, ESB also debited Arezas’ account.
ESB cannot debit from Arezas’ account. The collecting banks are ultimately liable for the amount
of the materially altered check. It cannot further pass the liability back to the petitioners absent
any showing of petitioners’ the negligence which substantially contributed to the loss from

 PETS Cesar Areza and Lolita Areza maintained bank deposits with Express Savings
Bank (ESB).
 They received a purchase order for 2 vehicles from Mambuay.
 Mambuay paid them with 9 PH Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) checks drawn against
PH Veterans Bank, each valued at P200k.
 PET Claims: Michael Potenciano, branch manager of ESB offered the services of the
bank to process and eventually credit the checks to petitioner’s account.
 Potenciano claims: He accepted the checks by way of accommodation
 ESB deposited the checks with its depositary bank, Equitable-PCI.
o Equitable presented the checks to PVAO – which honored the same.
 The entire amount was credited to the PETS’ savings account so PETS released the
 PVAO returned the checks to Equitable on the ground that the amount on the face was
altered from P4k to P200k.
o Equitable told ESB that the checks were dishonored and debited their deposit
 PETs issued a check which was dishonored by ESB for the reason “Deposit Under Hold”
 ESB closed the petitioner’s account and transferred the funds therein (1,179,659.69)
to their own account.


 WON ESB had the right to debit the amount from the Petitioner’s account without their
knowledge? – NO.

 NIL. Sec. 63. - the acceptor, by accepting the instrument, engages that he will pay it
according to the tenor of his acceptance. The acceptor is a drawee who accepts the bill.
 PNB v. CA - the payment of the amount of a check implies not only acceptance but also
compliance with the drawee’s obligation.
 If the instrument is altered before acceptance, is the drawee liable for the original or the
altered tenor of acceptance?
o National City Bank of Chicago v. Bank of the Republic - it was not the legislative
intent that the obligation of the acceptor should be limited to the tenor of the
instrument as drawn by the maker, as was the rule at common law, but that it
should be enforceable in favor of a holder in due course against the acceptor
according to its tenor at the time of its acceptance or certification.
o NIL Sec. 124 - a material alteration avoids an instrument except as against an
assenting party and subsequent indorsers, but a holder in due course may enforce
payment according to its original tenor.
 DEPOSITARY BANK – first bank to take an item even though it is also the payor bank,
unless the item is presented for immediate payment over the counter.
 COLLECTING BANK – any bank handling an item for collection except the bank on
which the check is drawn.
 The law imposes a duty of diligence on the collecting bank to scrutinize checks deposited
with it for the purpose of determining their genuineness and regularity. The collecting
bank being primarily engaged in banking holds itself out to the public as the expert and
the law holds it to a high standard of conduct.
 As collecting banks, the Bank and Equitable-PCI Bank are both liable for the amount of
the materially altered checks. Since Equitable-PCI Bank is not a party to this case and the
Bank allowed its account with Equitable- PCI Bank to be debited, it has the option to
seek recourse against the latter in another forum.
 A depositary/collecting bank may resist or defend against a claim for breach of warranty
if the drawer, the payee, or either the drawee bank or depositary bank was negligent and
such negligence substantially contributed to the loss from alteration.
o In this case, there is no negligence on the part of PETS.
o The bank manager offered their services. The check was cleared and credited to
their account.
 ESB cannot set-off the amount it paid to Equitable with petitioners’ savings account.
o While it is true that the bank and the petitioners have a debtor-creditor
relationship, petitioners are not liable for the deposit of the altered checks. The
Bank, as the depositary and collecting bank ultimately bears the loss. Thus, there
being no indebtedness to the Bank on the part of petitioners, legal compensation
cannot take place.

Petition Granted.