2016 (Mercantile Law) Bar Exam Questions: Question 20

[Answer/discuss the question below, or see 2016 bar exam Mercantile Law Instructions; 2016 Mercantile Law Questions: 123456789101112131415161718, and 19; See also 2016 Bar Exam: Information, Discussions, Tips, Questions and Results]

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Company X issued a Bank A Check No. 12345 in the amount of P500,000.00 payable to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) for the company’s taxes for the third quarter of 1997. The check was deposited with Bank B, the collecting bank with which the BIR has an account. The check was subsequently cleared and the amount of P500,000.00 was deducted from the company’s balance. Thereafter, Company X was notified by the BIR of its non-payment of its unpaid taxes despite the P500,000.00 debit from its account. This prompted the company to seek assistance from the proper authorities to investigate on the matter.

The results of the investigation disclosed that unknown then to Company X, its chief accountant Bonifacio Santos is part of a syndicate that devised a scheme to syphon its funds. It was discovered that though deposited, the check was never paid to the BIR but was passed on by Santos to Winston Reyes, Bank B’s branch manager and Santos’ co-conspirator. Instead of bringing the check to the clearing house, Reyes replaced Check No. 12345 with a worthless check bearing the same amount, and tampered documents to cover his tracks. No amount was then credited to the BIR. Meanwhile, Check No. 12345 was subsequently cleared and the amount therein credited into the accounts of fictitious persons, to be later withdrawn by Santos and Reyes.

Company X then sued Bank B for the amount of P500,000.00 representing the amount deducted from its account. Bank B interposed the defense that Company X was guilty of contributory negligence since its confidential employee Santos was an integral part of the scheme to divert the proceeds of Check No. 12345. Is Company X entitled to reimbursement from Bank B, the collecting bank? Explain. (5%)

One comment

  1. Yes, Company X is entitled Reimbursement From Bank B

    The Supreme Court has held that colecting banks are mandated to exercise extra ordinary diligence in the conduct oF its operations. The nature of the industry to which they belong is imbued with public interest since it involves public’s money.

    Here, Bank X as the collecting bank Failed to exercise such extra ordinary diligence when it cleared the Check No. 12345 without discovering such inFirmity. Making them liable For the amount deducted From Company X.

    Bank X’s contention on contributory negligence is also misplaced. Notwithstanding the crime committed by their client’s employee, it does not by itselF deminish their aforementioned liability since the imposition oF that degree oF diligence is mandated by law.

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