THE METROPOLITAN BANK AND TRUST COMPANY, Petitioner, vs
ANA GRACE ROSALES AND YO YUK TO, Respondents.
G.R. No. 183204 January 13, 2014
PONENTE: Del Castillo
Petitioner Metrobank is a domestic banking corporation duly organized and existing under the laws of the Philippines. Respondent Rosales is the owner of a travel agency while Yo Yuk To is her mother.
In 2000, respondents opened a Joint Peso Account10 with petitioner’s Pritil-Tondo Branch.
In May 2002, respondent Rosales accompanied her client Liu Chiu Fang, a Taiwanese National applying for a retiree’s visa from the Philippine Leisure and Retirement Authority (PLRA), to petitioner’s branch in Escolta to open a savings account. Since Liu Chiu Fang could speak only in Mandarin, respondent Rosales acted as an interpreter for her.
On March 3, 2003, respondents opened with petitioner’s Pritil-Tondo Branch a Joint Dollar Account with an initial deposit of US$14,000.00.
On July 31, 2003, petitioner issued a “Hold Out” order against respondents’ accounts.
On September 3, 2003, petitioner, through its Special Audit Department Head Antonio Ivan Aguirre, filed before the Office of the Prosecutor of Manila a criminal case for Estafa through False Pretences, Misrepresentation, Deceit, and Use of Falsified Documents.
Respondent Rosales, however, denied taking part in the fraudulent and unauthorized withdrawal from the dollar account of Liu Chiu Fang.
On December 15, 2003, the Office of the City Prosecutor of Manila issued a Resolution dismissing the criminal case for lack of probable cause. On September 10, 2004, respondents filed before the RTC of Manila a complaint for Breach of Obligation and Contract with Damages.
Whether Metrobank breached its contract with respondents.
YES. The Court held that Metrobank’s reliance on the “Hold Out” clause in the Application and Agreement for Deposit Account is misplaced.
Bank deposits, which are in the nature of a simple loan or mutuum, must be paid upon demand by the depositor.
The “Hold Out” clause applies only if there is a valid and existing obligation arising from any of the sources of obligation enumerated in Article 1157 of the Civil Code, to wit: law, contracts, quasi-contracts, delict, and quasi-delict. In this case, petitioner failed to show that respondents have an obligation to it under any law, contract, quasi-contract, delict, or quasi-delict. And although a criminal case was filed by petitioner against respondent Rosales, this is not enough reason for petitioner to issue a “Hold Out” order as the case is still pending and no final judgment of conviction has been rendered against respondent Rosales.
In fact, it is significant to note that at the time petitioner issued the “Hold Out” order, the criminal complaint had not yet been filed. Thus, considering that respondent Rosales is not liable under any of the five sources of obligation, there was no legal basis for petitioner to issue the “Hold Out” order. Accordingly, we agree with the findings of the RTC and the CA that the “Hold Out” clause does not apply in the instant case.
In view of the foregoing, the Court found that petitioner is guilty of breach of contract when it unjustifiably refused to release respondents’ deposit despite demand. Having breached its contract with respondents, petitioner is liable for damages.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby DENIED. The assailed April 2, 2008 Decision and the May 30, 2008 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 89086 are hereby AFFIRMED.