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Feb 10, 2010

G.R. No. 97626, March 14, 1997

  • The negligence must be the proximate cause of the loss


Rommel’s Marketing Corporation (RMC) maintained two separate current accounts with PBC in connection with its business of selling appliances. The RMC General Manager Lipana entrusted to his secretary, Irene Yabut, RMC funds amounting to P300,000+ for the purpose of depositing the same to RMC’s account with PBC. However, it turned out that Yabut deposited the amounts in her husband’s account instead of RMC. Lipana never checked his monthly statement of accounts regularly furnished by PBC so that Yabut’s modus operandi went on for the span of more than one year.
  • What is the proximate cause of the loss – Lipana’s negligence in not checking his monthly statements or the bank’s negligence through its teller in validating the deposit slips?

The bank teller was negligent in validating, officially stamping and signing all the deposit slips prepared and presented by Yabut, despite the glaring fact that the duplicate copy was not completely accomplished contrary to the self-imposed procedure of the bank with respect to the proper validation of deposit slips, original or duplicate.

The bank teller’s negligence, as well as the negligence of the bank in the selection and supervision of its bank teller, is the proximate cause of the loss suffered by the private respondent, not the latter’s entrusting cash to a dishonest employee. Xxx Even if Yabut had the fraudulent intention to misappropriate the funds, she would not have been able to deposit those funds in her husband’s current account, and then make plaintiff believe that it was in the latter’s accounts wherein she had deposited them, had it not been for the bank teller’s aforesaid gross and reckless negligence.

Doctrine of Last Clear Chance – where both parties are negligent, but the negligent act of one is appreciably later in time than that of the other, or when it is impossible to determine whose fault or negligence should be attributed to the incident, the one who had the last clear opportunity to avoid the impending harm and failed to do so is chargeable with the consequences thereof. It means that the antecedent negligence of a person does not preclude the recovery of damages for the supervening negligence of, or bar a defense against liability sought by another, if the latter, who had the last fair chance, could have avoided the impending harm by exercise of due diligence. (Phil. Bank of Commerce v. CA, supra)


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