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Government of the Philippine Islands vs Monte de Piedad

G.R. No. 9959


35 PH 728, 751-753
December 13, 1916
Petitioner: Government of the Philippine Islands, represented by Executive Treas
urer
Respondent: El Monte de Piedad Y Caja de Ajorras de Manila
FACTS: On June 3, 1863, a devastating earthquake in the Philippines took place.
The Spanish dominions provided $400,000 aid as received by the National Treasury
as relief of the victims of the earthquake. The government used the money as su
ch but $80,000 was left untouched and was thus invested to Monte de Piedad bank,
which was in turn invested as jewelries, equivalent to the same amount.
In June 1983, the Department of Finance called upon the same bank to return the
$80,000 deposited from before. The Monte de Piedad declined to comply with this
order on the ground that the Governor-General of the Philippine Islands and not
the Department of Finance had the right to order the reimbursement because the P
hilippine government is not the affected party. On account of various petitions
of the persons, the Philippine Islands brought a suit against Monte de Piedad fo
r a recovery of the $80,000 together with interest, for the benefit of those per
sons and their heirs. Respondent refuse to provide the money, hence, this appeal
.
ISSUE: Whether or not the Philippine government is authorized to file a reimburs
ement of the money of the people deposited in respondent bank.
HELD: The Court held that the Philippine government is competent to file a compl
aint/reimbursement against respondent bank in accordance to the Doctrine of Pare
ns Patriae. The government is the sole protector of the rights of the people thu
s, it holds an inherent supreme power to enforce laws which promote public inter
est. The government has the right to "take back" the money intended fro people.
The government has the right to enforce all charities of public nature, by vir
tue of its general superintending authority over the public interests, where no
other person is entrusted with it.
Appellate court decision was affirmed. Petition was thereby GRANTED. The Court o
rdered that respondent bank return the amount to the rightful heirs with interes
t in gold or coin in Philippine peso.