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Salvacion vs. Central Bank of the Philippines (G.R. No. 94723. August 21, 1997)

16 Apr

KAREN E. SALVACION, minor, thru Federico N. Salvacion, Jr., father and Natural Guardian, and Spouses FEDERICO N. SALVACION, JR., and EVELINA E. SALVACION, petitioners,
vs.
CENTRAL BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES, CHINA BANKING CORPORATION and GREG BARTELLI y NORTHCOTT,respondents.

Ponente: TORRES, JR.

FACTS:

Respondent Greg Bartelli y Northcott, an American tourist, coaxed and lured the 12-year old petitioner Karen Salvacion to go with him in his apartment where the former repeatedly raped latter. After the rescue, policemen recovered dollar and peso checks including a foreign currency deposit from China Banking Corporation (CBC). Writ of preliminary attachment and hold departure order were issued. Notice of Garnishment was served by the Deputy Sheriff to CBC which later invoked R.A. No. 1405 as its answer to it. Deputy Sheriff sent his reply to CBC saying that the garnishment did not violate the secrecy of bank deposits since the disclosure is merely incidental to a garnishment properly and legally made by virtue of a court order which has placed the subject deposits in custodia legis. CBC replied and invoked Section 113 of Central Bank Circular No. 960 to the effect that the dollar deposits of Greg Bartelli are exempt from attachment, garnishment, or any other order or process of any court, legislative body, government agency or any administrative body, whatsoever. Central Bank of the Philippines affirmed the defense of CBC.

ISSUE: 

Whether or not Sec. 113 of Central Bank Circular 960 and Sec. 8 of RA 6426 amended by PD 1246 otherwise known  as the “Foreign Currency Deposit Act” be made applicable to  a foreign transient.

HELD:

NO. The provisions of Section 113 of CB Circular No. 960 and PD No. 1246, insofar as it amends Section 8 of R.A. No. 6426 are hereby held to be INAPPLICABLE to this case because of its peculiar circumstances.

RATIO:

[T]he application of the law depends on the extent of its justice. Eventually, if we rule that the questioned Section 113 of Central Bank Circular No. 960 which exempts from attachment, garnishment, or any other order or process of any court, legislative body, government agency or any administrative body whatsoever, is applicable to a foreign transient, injustice would result especially to a citizen aggrieved by a foreign guest like accused Greg Bartelli. This would negate Article 10 of the New Civil Code which provides that “in case of doubt in the interpretation or application of laws, it is presumed that the lawmaking body intended right and justice to prevail.

“Ninguno non deue enriquecerse tortizeramente con dano de otro.” Simply stated, when the statute is silent or ambiguous, this is one of those fundamental solutions that would respond to the vehement urge of conscience. It would be unthinkable, that the questioned Section 113 of Central Bank No. 960 would be used as a device by accused Greg Bartelli for wrongdoing, and in so doing, acquitting the guilty at the expense of the innocent.

Call it what it may — but is there no conflict of legal policy here? Dollar against Peso? Upholding the final and executory judgment of the lower court against the Central Bank Circular protecting the foreign depositor? Shielding or protecting the dollar deposit of a transient alien depositor against injustice to a national and victim of a crime? This situation calls for fairness against legal tyranny.

 

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