MANILA, Philippines - The Court of Appeals (CA) has ordered the inclusion of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and its Monetary Board (MB) as additional defendants in the civil cases filed by Banco Filipino in connection with its illegal closure in 1985.
In a 16-page ruling, Associate Justice Elihu Ybañez of the CA’s Special Third Division said that Presiding Judge Rebecca Mariano of the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 136 committed grave abuse of discretion when she junked Banco Filipino’s second complaint, which sought to include BSP-MB as defendants in its P18.8 billion damage suit.
The appellate court reversed Judge Mariano’s assailed orders dated December 4, 2006 and March 21, 2007.
In the said orders, the Makati RTC judge granted the supplemental motion filed by BSP-MB seeking the summary dismissal of Banco Filipino’s second amended complaint on the ground of forum shopping.
The BSP-MB claimed another branch of the local court had dismissed a civil case that was also filed by Banco Filipino.
"An order of dismissal, whether correct or not, is a final order. It is not interlocutory because the proceedings are terminated; it leaves nothing more to be done by the lower court. Therefore, the remedy of the aggrieved party is to appeal the order," the CA stated.
"This Court finds a need to set aside the [Makati RTC] orders for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion," it added.
Furthermore, the CA noted that Judge Mariano’s order came 5 months after it rendered a ruling on January 27, 2006 affirming the respondent judge's earlier decision declaring that BSP was the sole successor-in-interest of the old Central Bank and "the transfer of assets from the Central Bank to the BSP during the pendency of the civil cases between Banco Filipino and Central Bank constitutes the BSP as transferee pendente lite (while the litigation is pending)."
"The appellate court therefore ruled that since there is no legal impediment in impleading BSP-MB as additional defendants to the case, it affirmed the RTC’s ruling allowing the admission of Banco Filipino’s second amended/supplemental complaint."
Concurring with the ruling were Associate Justices Bienvenido Reyes and Priscilla Baltazar-Padila.
Banco Filipino earlier filed numerous civil cases against the Central Bank and its Monetary Board assailing their separate resolutions placing it under conservatorship; forbidding the bank from doing business and placing it under receivership; and finally ordering its liquidation.
The Supreme Court ordered the consolidation of the said civil cases all with Branch 136 of the Makati RTC.