By Rey Panaligan
The Supreme Court (SC) has affirmed a Court of Appeals (CA) decision that nullified a trial court order which directed the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Monetary Board (MB) to release up to P25 billion in financial assistance and other regulatory reliefs to the now padlocked Banco Filipino Savings and Mortgage Bank.
In a decision written by Justice Marvic Mario Victor F. Leonen, the SC dismissed the petition filed by Banco Filipino against the BSP and MB to implement the 2010 ruling of the Makati City regional trial court (RTC).
The SC said that Banco Filipino, a closed bank under receivership, can only sue or be sued through its receiver, the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC).
“As a consequence of receivership, the closed bank may sue and be sued only through its receiver, the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation. Any action filed by the closed bank without its receiver may be dismissed,” it said.
It also said that since BSP’s MB is a quasi-judicial agency, the Rules of Court provide that petitions for certiorari against a quasi-judicial agency are cognizable only by the CA.
“Unless otherwise provided for by law and the Rules of Court, petitions for certiorari against a quasi-judicial agency are cognizable only by the Court of Appeals. The Regional Trial Court had no jurisdiction over the Petition for Certiorari filed by petitioner (Banco Filipino) against respondents (BSP and MB).”
Case records showed that Banco Filipino was incorporated on June 25, 1964 with a term of 50 years or until June 25, 2014.
The bank was padlocked in 1985 but it was ordered re-opened by the SC in 1994 and allowed to resume operations.
On March 17, 2011, the BSP-MB placed Banco Filipino under PDIC receivership. PDIC ordered its liquidation on Oct. 27, 2011.
The BSP-MB’s orders on receivership and liquidation have been elevated by the bank’s shareholders to the SC where the case is still pending.
In 2009, the MB granted Banco Filipino’s request for a P25-billion financial assistance and certain regulatory reliefs.
But the MB set several conditions for the assistance like the withdrawal by Banco Filipino of all the cases it has filed against the BSP and the MB in connection with its 1985 closure.
When the MB withheld the release of the financial assistance, Banco Filipino instituted a case before the Makati City RTC which ruled in its favor. The RTC enjoined BSP and MB from “employing acts inimical to the enforcement of Banco Filipino’s approved business plan” and ordered the immediate release of the P25 billion in financial assistance.
The BSP and MB elevated the issue before the CA.
Ruling in favor of the BSP and the MB, the CA ordered the dismissal of Banco Filipino’s case that became the basis for the Makati RTC to order the release of P25 billion financial assistance and other regulatory reliefs.
The CA said that the RTC has no jurisdiction over the case filed by Banco Filipino which should have been filed with the appellate court.
“The RTC has no jurisdiction over the petition for certiorari and mandamus filed by Banco Filipino in Civil Case No. 10-1042. It is this court (CA) that has jurisdiction over such petition pursuant to Rule 65, Section 4 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure,” the CA said.
“Wherefore, the petition (filed by BSP and MB) is granted. The order dated Nov. 17, 2010 issued by respondent Judge Joselito C. Villarosa of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 66, Makati City, in Civil Case No. 10-1042, is annulled and set aside. In lieu thereof, judgment is hereby rendered dismissing Civil Case No. 10-1042 on the ground of RTC’s lack of jurisdiction over the same,” the CA ruled.
Banco Filipino challenged the CA’s decision before the SC.
In resolving the case, the SC said:
“In sum, this Court holds that petitioner did not have the legal capacity to file this Petition absent any authorization from its statutory receiver, Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation. Even assuming that the Petition could be given due course, it would still be denied.
“The Court of Appeals did not err in dismissing the action pending between the parties before the trial court since special civil actions against quasi-judicial agencies must be filed with the Court of Appeals.
“WHEREFORE, the Petition is DISMISSED on the ground of petitioner’s lack of capacity to sue.”