International Corporate Bank v CA; G.R. No. 129910; 05 Sep 2006; 501 SCRA 20

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The Ministry of Education and Culture issued fifteen checks drawn against respondent bank which accepted them for deposit. After twenty-four hours from submission of the checks to respondent bank for clearing, petitioner bank paid the value of the checks and allowed the withdrawals of the deposits. However, respondent bank returned all the checks without clearing them because their serial numbers were altered.

Whether or not the alteration of the checks’ serial number was material to their negotiability.

NO. An alteration on the serial number of the check, an item which is not an essential requisite for negotiability, did not change the relations between the parties. The name of the drawer and the drawee were not altered. The intended payee was the same. The sum of money due to the payee remained the same. Petitioner, thus cannot refuse to accept the check in question on the ground that the serial number was altered, the same being an immaterial or innocent one.

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