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EN BANC

[G.R. No. L-18343. September 30, 1965.]


PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK, and EDUARDO Z.
ROMUALDEZ, in his capacity as President of the Philippine
National Bank, plaintiffs-appellants, vs. EMILIO A.
GANCAYCO, and FLORENTINO FLOR, Special Prosecutors
of the Dept. of Justice, defendants-appellees.
Ramon B. de los Reyes and Zoilo P. Perlas for plaintiff-appellants.
Villamor & Gancayco for defendants-appellees.
SYLLABUS
1. BANK DEPOSITS; DISCLOSURE OF BANK ACCOUNTS OF A
DEPOSITOR WHO IS UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR UNEXPLAINED
WEALTH. Whereas Section 2 of Republic Act No. 1405 provides that bank
deposits are "absolutely confidential ** and, therefore, may not be examined,
inquired or looked into," except in those cases enumerated therein, Section 8 of
Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft Law) directs in mandatory terms that bank
deposits "shall be taken into consideration in the enforcement of this section,
notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary." The only conclusion
possible is that Section 8 of the Anti-Graft Law is intended to amend Section 2 of
Republic Act No. 1405 by providing an additional exception to the rule against the
disclosure of bank deposits.
2. ID.; ID.; DISCLOSURE NOT CONTRARY TO THE POLICY MAKING
BANK DEPOSITS CONFIDENTIAL. The disclosure would not be contrary to
the policy making bank deposits confidential for while Section 2 of Republic Act
No. 1405 declares bank deposits to be "absolutely confidential" it nevertheless
allows such disclosure in the following instances: (1) upon written permission of
the depositor; (2) in cases of impeachment; (3) upon order of a competent court in
cases of bribery or dereliction of duty of public officials; (4) in cases where the
money deposited is the subject matter of the litigation. Cases of unexplained
wealth are similar to cases of bribery or dereliction of duty and no reason is seen
why these two classes of cases cannot be excepted from the rule making bank
deposits confidential.

DECISION

REGALA, J :
p

The principal question presented in this case is whether a bank can be compelled
to disclose the records of accounts of a depositor who is under investigation for
unexplained wealth.
This question arose when defendants Emilio A. Gancayco and Florentino Flor, as
special prosecutors of the Department of Justice, required the plaintiff Philippine
National Bank to produce at a hearing to be held at 10 am. on February 20, 1961
the records of the bank deposits of Ernesto T. Jimenez, former administrator of the
Agricultural Credit and Cooperative Administration, who was then under
investigation for unexplained wealth. In declining to reveal its records, the
plaintiff bank invoked republic Act No. 1405 which provides:
SEC. 2. All deposits of whatever nature with banks or banking
institutions in the Philippines including investments in bonds issued by
the Government of the Philippines, its political subdivisions and its
instrumentalities, are hereby considered as of an absolutely confidential
nature and may not be examined, inquired or looked into by any person,
government official, bureau or office, except upon written permission of
the depositor, or in cases of impeachment, or upon order of a competent
court in cases of bribery or dereliction of duty of public officials, or in
cases where the money deposited or invested is the subject matter of the
litigation.

The plaintiff bank also called attention to the penal provision of the law which
reads:
SEC. 5. Any violation of this law will subject the offender upon
conviction, to an imprisonment of not more than five years or a fine of
not more than twenty thousand pesos or both, in the discretion of the
court.

On the other hand, the defendants cited the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act
(Republic Act No. 3019) in support of their claim of authority and demanded anew
that plaintiff Eduardo Z. Romualdez, as bank president, produce the records or he
would be prosecuted for contempt. The law invoked by the defendant states:
Sec. 8. Dismissal due to unexplained wealth. If in accordance with
the provisions of Republic Act Numbered One thousand three hundred
seventy-nine, a public official has been found to have acquired during
his incumbency, whether in his name or in the name of other persons, an

amount of property and/or money manifestly, out of proportion to his


salary and to his other lawful income, that fact shall be a ground for
dismissal or removal. Properties in the name of the spouse and
unmarried children of such public official, may be taken into
consideration, when their acquisition through legitimate means cannot
be satisfactorily shown. Bank deposits shall be taken into consideration
in the enforcement of this section, notwithstanding any provision of law
to the contrary.

Because of the threat of prosecution, plaintiffs filed an action for declaratory


judgment in the Manila Court of First Instance. After trial, during which Senator
Arturo M. Tolentino, author of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act testified,
the court rendered judgment sustaining the power of the defendants to compel the
disclosure of bank accounts of ACCFA Administrator Jimenez. The court said
that, by enacting section 8 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Congress
clearly intended to provide an additional ground for the examination of bank
deposits. Without such provision, the court added, prosecutors would be hampered
if not altogether frustrated in the prosecution of those charged with having
acquired unexplained wealth while in public office.
From that judgment, plaintiffs appealed to this Court. In brief, plaintiffs' position
is that section 8 of the Anti-Graft Law "simply means that such bank deposits may
be included or added to the assets of the Government official or employee for the
purpose of computing his unexplained wealth if and when the same are discovered
or revealed in the manner authorized by Section 2 of Republic Act 1405, which
are (1) Upon written permission of the depositor; (2) in cases of impeachment; (3)
Upon order of a competent court in cases of bribery or dereliction of duty of
public officials; and (4) In cases where the money deposited or invested is the
subject matter of the litigation."
In support of their position, plaintiffs contend, first, that the Anti-Graft Law
(which took effect on August 17, 1960) is a general law which cannot be deemed
to have impliedly repealed section 2 of Republic Act No. 1405 (which took effect
on Sept. 9, 1955.), because of the rule that repeals by implication are not favored.
Second, they argue that to construe section 8 of the Anti-Graft Law as allowing
inquiry into bank deposits would be to negate the policy expressed in section 1 of
Republic Act No. 1405, which is "to give encouragement to the people to deposit
their money in banking institutions and to discourage private hoarding so that the
same may be utilized by banks in authorized loans to assist in the economic
development of the country."
Contrary to their claim that their position effects a reconciliation of the provisions
of the two laws, plaintiffs are actually making the provisions of Republic Act No.
1405 prevail over those of the Anti-Graft Law, because even without the latter law

the balance standing to the depositor's credit can be considered provided its
disclosure is made in any of the cases provided in Republic Act No. 1405.
The truth is that these laws are so repugnant to each other that no reconciliation is
possible. Thus, while Republic Act No. 1405 provides that bank deposits are
"absolutely confidential . . . and [therefore] may not be examined, inquired or
looked into," except in those cases enumerated therein, the Anti-Graft Law directs
in mandatory terms that bank deposits "shall be taken into consideration in the
enforcement of this section, notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary."
The only conclusion possible is that section 8 of the Anti-Graft Law is intended to
amend section 2 of Republic Act No. 1405 by providing an additional exception to
the rule against the disclosure of bank deposits.
Indeed, it is said that if the new law is inconsistent with or repugnant to the old
law, the presumption against the intent to repeal by implication is overthrown
because the inconsistency or repugnancy reveals an intent to repeal the existing
law. And whether a statute, either in its entirety or in part, has been repealed by
implication is ultimately a matter of legislative intent. (Crawford, The
Construction of Statutes pp. 309-310. Cf. Iloilo Palay and Corn Planters Ass'n. v.
Feliciano, G.R. No. L-24022, March 3, 1965).
The recent case of People v. De Venecia, G. R. No. L-20808, July 31, 1965 invites
comparison with this case. There it was held:
"The result is that although Sec. 54 [Rev. Election Code]
prohibits a classified civil service employee from aiding any
candidate, Sec 29 [Civil Service Act of 1959] allows such
classified employee to express his views on current political
problems or issues, or to mention the name of his candidate for
public office, even if such expression of views or mention of
names may result in aiding one particular candidate. In other
words, the last paragraph of Sec. 29 is an exception to Sec. 54; at
most, an amendment to Sec. 54."

With regard to the claim that disclosure would be contrary to the policy making
bank deposits confidential, it is enough to point out that while section 2 of
Republic Act No. 1405 declares bank deposits to be "absolutely confidential" it
nevertheless allows such disclosure in the following instances: (1) Upon written
permission of the depositor; (2) In cases of impeachment; (2) Upon order of a
competent court in cases of bribery or dereliction of duty of public officials; (4) In
cases where the money deposited is the subject of the litigation. Cases of
unexplained wealth are similar to cases of bribery or dereliction of duty and no
reason is seen why these two classes of cases cannot be excepted from the rule
making bank deposits confidential. The policy as to one cannot be different from

the policy as to the other. This policy expresses the notion that a public office is a
public trust and any person who enters upon its discharge does so with the full
knowledge that his life, so far as relevant to his duty, is open to public scrutiny.

WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is affirmed, without pronouncement as


to costs.
Concepcion, Reyes, J. B. L., Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., and Zaldivar, JJ., concur.
Bengzon, C.J. and Bautista Angelo, J., are on an official trip to Tokyo.
Barrera, J., is on leave.

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FIRST DIVISION
[G.R. No. 56429. May 28, 1988.]
BANCO FILIPINO SAVINGS AND MORTGAGE BANK,
petitioner, vs. HON. FIDEL PURISIMA, etc., and HON. VICENTE
ERICTA and JOSE DEL FIERO, etc., respondents.
SYLLABUS
1. REMEDIAL LAW; SPECIAL CIVIL ACTION; CERTIORARI; REQUISITE
FOR ISSUANCE OF WRIT. In order that a writ of certiorari may issue, it is
necessary that there be a clear showing that the party's contention is clearly correct
or that the court's ruling is clearly wrong. It cannot issue simply upon a showing
that there is disagreement between a party and the court upon some material
factual or legal issues.
2. CRIMINAL LAW; ANTI-GRAFT AND CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT;
ADDITIONAL EXCEPTIONS TO RULE AGAINST DISCLOSURE OF BANK
DEPOSITS UNDER REPUBLIC ACT NO. 1405. Section 8 of Republic Act
No. 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, on dismissal due to
unexplained wealth, is an additional exception under Republic Act No. 1405.

3. ID.; ID.; INQUIRY INTO ILLEGALLY ACQUIRED PROPERTY; EXTENDS


TO PROPERTY RECORDED IN THE NAME OF OTHER PERSON. The
inquiry into illegally acquired property - or property NOT "legitimately acquired"
- extends to cases where such property is concealed by being held by or recorded
in the name of other persons. This proposition is made clear by R.A. No. 3019
which quite categorically states that the term, "legitimately acquired property of a
public officer or employee shall not include . . . property unlawfully acquired by
the respondent, but its ownership is concealed by its being recorded in the name
of, or held by, respondent's spouse, ascendants, descendants, relatives or any other
persons.
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; RATIONALE. To restrict the inquiry only to property held
by or in the name of the government official or employee, or his spouse and
unmarried children, would make available to persons in government who illegally
acquire property an easy and fool-proof means of evading investigation and
prosecution; all they would have to do would be to place the property in the
possession or name of persons other than their spouse and unmarried children.

DECISION

NARVASA, J :
p

The verdict in this special civil action of certiorari turns upon the question of
whether or not the "Law on Secrecy of Bank Deposits" 1 precludes production by
subpoena duces tecum of bank records of transactions by or in the names of the
wife, children and friends of a special agent of the Bureau of Customs, accused
before the Tanodbayan of having allegedly acquired property manifestly out of
proportion to his salary and other lawful income, in violation of the "Anti-Graft
and Corrupt Practices Act." 2
The Customs special agent involved is Manuel Caturla, and the accusation against
him was filed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue. 3 In the course of the
preliminary investigation thereof, the Tanodbayan issued a subpoena duces tecum
to the Banco Filipino Savings & Mortgage Bank, commanding its representative to
appear at a specified time at the Office of the Tanodbayan and furnish the latter
with duly certified copies of the records in all its branches and extension offices,
of the loans, savings and time deposits and other banking transactions, dating back
to 1969, appearing in the names of Caturla, his wife, Purita Caturla, their children
Manuel, Jr., Marilyn and Michael and/or Pedro Escuyos. 4

Caturla moved to quash the subpoena duces tecum, 5 arguing that compliance
therewith would result in a violation of Sections 2 and 3 of the Law on Secrecy of
Bank Deposits. Then Tanodbayan Vicente Ericta not only denied the motion for
lack of merit, and directed compliance with the subpoena, 6 but also expanded its
scope through a second subpoena duces tecum, 7 this time requiring production by
Banco Filipino of the bank records in all its branches and extension offices, of
Siargao Agro-Industrial Corporation, Pedro Escuyos or his wife, Emeterio
Escuyos, Purita Caturla, Lucia Escuyos or her husband, Romeo Escuyos, Emerson
Escuyos, Fraterno Caturla, Amparo Montilla, Cesar Caturla, Manuel Caturla or his
children, Manuel Jr., Marilyn and Michael, LTD Pub/Restaurant, and Jose Buo or
his wife, Evelyn. Two other subpoenae of substantially the same tenor as the
second were released by the Tanodbayan's Office. 8 The last required obedience
under sanction of contempt.
The Banco Filipino Savings & Mortgage Bank, hereafter referred to simply as BF
Bank, took over from Caturla in the effort to nullify the subpoenae. It filed a
complaint for declaratory relief with the Court of First Instance of Manila, 9 which
was assigned by raffle to the sala of respondent Judge Fidel Purisima. BF Bank
prayed for a judicial declaration as to whether its compliance with the subpoenae
duces tecum would constitute an infringement of the provisions of Sections 2 and
3 of R.A. No. 1405 in relation to Section 8 of R.A. No. 3019. It also asked that
pending final resolution of the question, the Tanodbayan be provisionally
restrained from exacting compliance with the subpoenae.
Respondent Judge Purisima issued an Order denying for lack of merit the
application by BF Bank for a preliminary injunction and/or restraining order. 10
This Order is now impugned in the instant certiorari action instituted by BF Bank
before this Court, as having been issued with grave abuse of discretion, amounting
to lack of jurisdiction. It is the bank's theory that the order declining to grant that
remedy operated as a premature adjudication of the very issue raised in the
declaratory suit, and as judicial sufferance of a transgression of the bank deposits
statute, and so constituted grievous error correctible by certiorari. It further argues
that the subpoenae in question are in the nature of "fishing expeditions" or
"general warrants" since they authorize indiscriminate inquiry into bank records;
that, assuming that such an inquiry is allowed as regards public officials under
investigation for a violation of the Anti-Graft & Corrupt Practices Act, it is
constitutionally impermissible with respect to private individuals or public
officials not under investigation on a charge of violating said Act; and that while
prosecution of offenses should not, as a rule, be enjoined, there are recognized
exceptions to the principle one of which is here present, i.e, to avoid multiplicity
of suits, similar subpoenae having been directed to other bank's as well.

It is difficult to see how the refusal by the Court a quo to issue the temporary
restraining order applied for by the petitioner in other words, its disagreement
with the petitioner's advocated theory could be deemed so whimsical,
capricious, despotic or oppressive an act as to constitute grave abuse of discretion.
Obviously, the writ of certiorari cannot issue simply on a showing of
disagreement between a party and the court upon some material factual or legal
issue. There must be a reasonable demonstration that a party's contentions are so
clearly correct, or the court's ruling thereon so clearly wrong, to justify the
issuance of a writ of certiorari. No such demonstration exists in this case. Indeed,
for aught that the record shows, the Court's refusal to grant the application for a
restraining order was, in the premises, licit and proper, or its validity, fairly
debatable, at the very least. Be this as it may, on the merits the petitioner cannot
succeed. Its declared theory is untenable.
The provisions of R.A. No. 1405 subject of BF's declaratory action, read as
follows:
LibLex

"Sec. 2. All deposits of whatever nature with banks or banking


institutions in the Philippines including investments in bonds issued by
the Government of the Philippines, its political subdivisions and its
instrumentalities, are hereby considered as of an absolutely confidential
nature and may not be examined, inquired or looked into by any person,
government official, bureau or office, except upon written permission of
the depositor, or in cases of impeachment, or upon order of a competent
court in cases of bribery or dereliction of duty of public officials, or in
cases where the money deposited or invested is the subject matter of
litigation."
"Sec. 3. It shall be unlawful for any official or employee of a banking
institution to disclose to any person other than those mentioned in
Section two hereof any information concerning said deposits."

The other provision involved in the declaratory action is Section 8 of R.A. No.
3019. It reads:
"Sec. 8. Dismissal due to unexplained wealth. If in accordance with
the provisions of Republic Act Numbered One thousand three hundred
seventy-nine, a public official has been found to have acquired during
his incumbency, whether in his name or in the name of other persons, an
amount of property and/or money manifestly out of proportion to his
salary and to his other lawful income, that fact shall be a ground for
dismissal or removal. Properties in the name of the spouse and
unmarried children of such public official may be taken into
consideration, when their acquisition through legitimate means cannot
be satisfactorily shown. Bank deposits shall be taken into consideration

in the enforcement of this section, notwithstanding any provision of law


to the contrary."

In our decision in Philippine National Bank v. Gancayco, rendered on September


30, 1965, 11 we upheld the judgment of the Trial Court "sustaining the power of
the defendants (special prosecutors of the Department of Justice) to compel the
disclosure (by PNB) of bank accounts of ACCFA Administrator Jimenez (then
under investigation for unexplained wealth), . . . (it being ruled) that, by enacting
section 8 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Congress clearly intended to
provide an additional ground for the examination of bank deposits . . . (for)
without such provision, the . . . prosecutors would be hampered if not altogether
frustrated in the prosecution of those charged with having acquired unexplained
wealth while in public office. 12 We ourselves declared in said case that 13

". . . while Republic Act No. 1405 provides that bank deposits are
'absolutely confidential . . . and [therefore] may not be examined,
inquired or looked into,' except in those cases enumerated therein, the
Anti-Graft Law directs in mandatory terms that bank deposits 'shall be
taken into consideration in the enforcement of this section,
notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary.' The only
conclusion possible is that section 8 of the Anti-Graft Law is intended to
amend section 2 of Republic Act No. 1405 by providing an additional
exception to the rule against the disclosure of bank deposits.
"xxx xxx xxx
". . . Cases of unexplained wealth 14 are similar to cases of bribery or
dereliction of duty 15 and no reason is seen why these two classes of
cases cannot be excepted from the rule making bank deposits
confidential. The policy as to one cannot be different from the policy as
to the other. This policy expresses the notion that a public office is a
public trust and any person who enters upon its discharge does so with
the full knowledge that his life, so far as relevant to his duty, is open to
public scrutiny."

The inquiry into illegally acquired property or property NOT "legitimately


acquired" extends to cases where such property is concealed by being held by
or recorded in the name of other persons. This proposition is made clear by R.A.
No. 3019 which quite categorically states that the term, "legitimately acquired
property of a public officer or employee shall not include . . . property unlawfully
acquired by the respondent, but its ownership is concealed by its being recorded in
the name of, or held by, respondent's spouse, ascendants, descendants, relatives or
any other persons." 16

To sustain the petitioner's theory, and restrict the inquiry only to property held by
or in the name of the government official or employee, or his spouse and
unmarried children is unwarranted in the light of the provisions of the statutes in
question, and would make available to persons in government who illegally
acquire property an easy and fool-proof means of evading investigation and
prosecution; all they would have to do would be to simply place the property in
the possession or name of persons other than their spouse and unmarried children.
This is an absurdity that we will not ascribe to the lawmakers.
LLjur

The power of the Tanodbayan to issue subpoenae ad testificandum and subpoenae


duces tecum at the time in question is not disputed, and at any rate does not admit
of doubt. 17 The subpoenae issued by him, will be sustained against the
petitioner's impugnation.
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is DISMISSED, with costs against
petitioner.
Cruz, Gancayco, Grio-Aquino and Medialdea, JJ., concur.
Footnotes
1. R.A. No. 1405.
2. R.A. No. 3019.
3. Docketed as Tanodbayan (TBP) Case No. 8006-19-07.
4. Annex A, petition.
5. Annex B, petition.
6. Annex C, petition.
7. Annex D, petition.
8. Annexes E and F, petition.
9. Annex G, petition.
10. Annex H, petition.
11. 15 SCRA 91.
12. 15 SCRA 94.

13. 15 SCRA 95, 96.


14. Under Act 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Law.
15. Mentioned in Sec. 2, RA 1405 as excepted cases, supra.
16. Sec. 1, par. (6), sub-par. (1); emphasis supplied.
17. Sec. 10, P.D. No. 1630.

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