Gonzales v. PCIB (G.R. No. 180257)

Facts:

Petitioner was a client of PCIB for a good 15 years and was granted a credit line with the aggregate amount of his accounts as collateral for the availment of the said line. Petitioner served as an accommodation party to spouses Panlilio who obtained loans covered by promissory notes, notably stating that petitioner is solidary liable with the spouses for the payment of the loans. The loan was granted and the spouses received the proceeds but subsequently defaulted in the payment of said dues. As a result, the credit line was terminated and the FCD account of petitioner was frozen. In the meantime, Gonzales issued a check but was dishonored which resulted to a falling out and a heated argument causing him great embarrassment and humiliation. Petitioner filed a case with the RTC on account of the alleged unjust dishonor of the check. RTC ruled in favor of PCIB. CA affirmed in toto.

Issue:

Whether or not PCIB acted in bad faith by dishonoring the check of petitioner.

Ruling: YES.

In the instant case, Gonzales suffered from the negligence and bad faith of PCIB. From the testimonies of Gonzales’ witnesses, particularly those of Dominador Santos and Freddy Gomez, the embarrassment and humiliation Gonzales has to endure not only before his former close friend Unson but more from the members and families of his friends and associates in the PCA, which he continues to experience considering the confrontation he had with Unson and the consequent loss of standing and credibility among them from the fact of the apparent bouncing check he issued. Credit is very important to businessmen and its loss or impairment needs to be recognized and compensated.

Even in the absence of malice or bad faith, a depositor still has the right to recover reasonable moral damages, if the depositor suffered mental anguish, serious anxiety, embarrassment, and humiliation. Although incapable of pecuniary estimation, moral damages are certainly recoverable if they are the proximate result of the defendant’s wrongful act or omission. The factual antecedents bolstered by undisputed testimonies likewise show the mental anguish and anxiety Gonzales had to endure with the threat of Unson to file a suit. Gonzales had to pay Unson PhP 250,000, while his FCD account in PCIB was frozen, prompting Gonzales to demand from PCIB and to file the instant suit.

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