Issue of April 29, 2012
Mt. Province

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Bank ordered to pay 2 clients P1.6 M after losing over P750K
by Harley Palangchao

After losing over P570,000 from unscrupulous bank staffs, two depositors are expected to receive over P1.674 million from the bank.

Baguio City Regional Trial Court Branch 5 Judge Antonio Esteves ordered Banco San Juan (BSJ) to pay depositors Fortunato Diate and Leodegario Boongaling the amount of over P1.6 million, which includes the P580,000 that was illegally withdrawn in two occasions by its bank personnel.

Reyes, in his 10-page order, said the bank breached its contractual obligation to safeguard the deposit of the two complainants by allowing a withdrawal without a bankbook and with no authorization.

To recall, Diate and Boongaling filed complaint against BSJ president Jobel Chua, the bank’s officers and board directors, Baguio business manager Gilbert Padlan, and bank employees Dindo Soriano and Elylyn Bravo after claiming they have not transacted with the bank using their savings account since Dec. 9, 2008 with a remaining balance of P574,313.93.

On Oct. 27, 2010, the complainant received a letter from Padlan telling them their account has become dormant with only P16,000 as remaining balance.

The complainants, who were represented by the law firm of Edgar Avila, later discovered their signatures were forged by unscrupulous bank employees for the illegal withdrawal of their money. The withdrawal was made before 5 p.m., past the regular banking hours, in the amount of P80,000 in April 14, 2008 and another P500,000 on April 30, 2008.

The court noted it was not the first time that scrupulous activities marred the bank’s integrity, saying that two employees were discovered in 2006 stealing from the company’s coffers with P14M allegedly lost in the process.

Earlier report said the bank informed the court that they made efforts to call the attention of the two depositors since 2009 to forewarn them they might have been victimized by two of their former employees who have been facing cases of theft.

But the court ruled that the bank “merely made general denials which we hold to be fatal to their cause.”

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