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De La Victoria v. Judge Burgos [G.R. No. 111190. June 27, 1995]

20 Apr

FACTS

Private respondent filed a complaint for damages against certain Fiscal Mabanto, Jr., whose judgment is favorable to the former. The decision became final and executory and notice of garnishment was served on petitioner to withhold Mabanto’s salary checks.

ISSUES

(a) Whether or not a check in the hands of the drawer is already owned by the payee.

(b) Whether or not an undelivered salary check may already transfer title to the payee.

RULING

(a) NO. Section 16 of the Negotiable Instruments Law is clear that “…where the instrument is no longer in the possession of a party whose signature appears thereon, a valid and intentional delivery by him is presumed until the contrary is proved.” Proof to the contrary is its own finding that the checks were in the custody of petitioner. In this case, as said checks had not yet been delivered to Mabanto, Jr., they did not belong to him and still had the character of public funds.

(b) NO. Under Section 16 of the Negotiable Instruments Law, every contract on a negotiable instrument is incomplete and revocable until delivery of the instrument for the purpose of giving effect thereto. As ordinarily understood, delivery means the transfer of the possession of the instrument by the maker or drawer with intent to transfer title to the payee and recognize him as the holder thereof. Here, there is no delivery to speak of as the salary check is not yet in the hands of Mabanto Jr. as the holder.

 

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