BANKING.docx

The petitioners argument is unfounded gross

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The petitioners' argument is unfounded. Gross negligence connotes want of care in the performance of one's duties; it is a negligence characterized by the want of even slight care, acting or omitting to act in a situation where there is duty to act, not inadvertently but wilfully and intentionally, with a conscious indifference to consequences insofar as other persons may be affected. It evinces a thoughtless disregard of consequences without exerting any effort to avoid them. 15 In order for gross negligence to exist as to warrant holding the respondent liable therefor, the petitioners must establish that the latter did not exert any effort at all to avoid unpleasant consequences, or that it wilfully and intentionally disregarded the proper protocols or procedure in the handling of US dollar notes and in selecting and supervising its employees. The CA and the RTC both found that the respondent had exercised the diligence required by law in observing the standard operating procedure, in taking the necessary precautions for handling the US dollar bills in question, and in selecting and supervising its employees. 16 Such factual findings by the trial court are entitled to great weight and respect especially after being affirmed by the appellate court, and could be overturned only upon a showing of a very good reason to warrant deviating from them. In this connection, it is significant that the BSP certified that the falsity of the US dollar notes in question, which were "near perfect genuine notes," could be detected only with extreme difficulty even with the exercise of due diligence. Ms. Nanette Malabrigo, BSP's Senior Currency Analyst, testified that the subject dollar notes were "highly deceptive" inasmuch as the paper used for them were similar to that used in the printing of the genuine notes. She observed that the security fibers and the printing were perfect except for some microscopic defects, and that
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all lines were clear, sharp and well defined. 17 Nonetheless, the petitioners contend that the respondent should be liable for moral and exemplary damages 18 on account of their suffering the unfortunate experience abroad brought about by their use of the take US dollar bills withdrawn from the latter. The contention cannot be upheld. The relationship existing between the petitioners and the respondent that resulted from a contract of loan was that of a creditor-debtor. 19 Even if the law imposed a high standard on the latter as a bank by virtue of the fiduciary nature of its banking business, bad faith or gross negligence amounting to bad faith was absent. Hence, there simply was no legal basis for holding the respondent liable for moral and exemplary damages. In breach of contract, moral damages may be awarded only where the defendant acted fraudulently or in bad faith. That was not true herein because the respondent was not shown to have acted fraudulently or in bad faith. This is pursuant to Article 2220 of the Civil Code, to wit: Article 2220. Willful injury to property may be a legal ground for awarding moral damages if
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