On respondent corpuz filed through an attorney in

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the PNB had the title verified and the property inspected. On November 20, 1995 respondent Corpuz filed, through an attorney-in-fact, a complaint before the Dagupan Regional Trial Court (RTC) against Mary Bondoc, the Palaganases, the Songcuans, and petitioner PNB, asking for the annulment of the layers of deeds of sale covering the land, the cancellation of TCTs 63262, 63466, and 63528, and the reinstatement of TCT 32815 in her name. On June 29, 1998 the RTC rendered a decision granting respondent Corpuz’s prayers. This prompted petitioner PNB to appeal to the Court of Appeals (CA). On July 31, 2007 the CA affirmed the decision of the RTC and denied the motion for its reconsideration, prompting PNB to take recourse to this Court. The Issue Presented The sole issue presented in this case is whether or not petitioner PNB is a mortgagee in good faith, entitling it to its lien on the title to the property in dispute. The Ruling of the Court
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Petitioner PNB points out that, since it did a credit investigation, inspected the property, and verified the clean status of the title before giving out the loan to the Songcuans, it should be regarded as a mortgagee in good faith. PNB claims that the precautions it took constitute sufficient compliance with the due diligence required of banks when dealing with registered lands. As a rule, the Court would not expect a mortgagee to conduct an exhaustive investigation of the history of the mortgagor’s title before he extends a loan. 1 But petitioner PNB is not an ordinary mortgagee; it is a bank. 2 Banks are expected to be more cautious than ordinary individuals in dealing with lands, even registered ones, since the business of banks is imbued with public interest. 3 It is of judicial notice that the standard practice for banks before approving a loan is to send a staff to the property offered as collateral and verify the genuineness of the title to determine the real owner or owners. 4 One of the CA’s findings in this case is that in the course of its verification, petitioner PNB was informed of the previous TCTs covering the subject property. 5 And the PNB has not categorically contested this finding. It is evident from the faces of those titles that the ownership of the land changed from Corpuz to Bondoc, from Bondoc to the Palaganases, and from the Palaganases to the Songcuans in less than three months and mortgaged to PNB within four months of the last transfer. The above information in turn should have driven the PNB to look at the deeds of sale involved. It would have then discovered that the property was sold for ridiculously low prices: Corpuz supposedly sold it to Bondoc for just 50,000.00; Bondoc to the Palaganases for just 15,000.00; and the Palaganases to the Songcuans also for just 50,000.00. Yet the PNB gave the property an appraised value of 781,760.00. Anyone who deliberately ignores a significant fact that would create suspicion in an otherwise reasonable person cannot be considered as an innocent mortgagee for value. 6 The Court finds no reason to reverse the CA decision.
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