Political Law

Government of the Philippine Islands vs El Monte de Piedad Y Caja De Ahorras De Manila

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G.R. No. L-9959 – 35 Phil. 728 – Political Law – Basic Concepts – Elements of a State – Government – Parens Patriae

In June 1863 a devastating earthquake occurred in the Philippines. The Spanish Government then provided $400,000.00 as aid for the victims and it was received by the Philippine Treasury. Out of the said amount, $80,000.00 was left untouched; it was then invested in the Monte de Piedad Bank which in turn invested the amount in jewelries. But when the Philippine government later tried to withdraw the said amount, the bank cannot provide for the amount. The government then filed a complaint. The bank argued that the Philippine government is not an affected party hence has no right to institute a complaint. The bank argues that the government was not the intended beneficiary of the said amount.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Philippine government is competent to file a complaint against the respondent bank.

HELD: Yes. The Philippine government is competent to institute action against Monte de Piedad, this is in accordance with the doctrine of Parens Patriae. The government being the protector of the rights of the people has the inherent supreme power to enforce such laws that will promote the public interest. No other party has been entrusted with such right hence as parent of the people, the government has the right to take back the money intended for the people.

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