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G.R. No.

164358 December 20, 2006

PEOPLE O THE PH!L!PP!NES, respondent.
Facts: Petitioner Theresa Macalalag obtained loans from Grace Estrella, each in the
amount of P100,000.00. s securit! for the pa!ment of the aforesaid loans, petitioner
Macalalag issued t"o Philippine #ational $an% &P#$' chec%s. (o"ever, "hen
Estrella presented said chec%s for pa!ment "ith the dra"ee ban%, the same "ere
dishonored for the reason that the account against "hich the same "as dra"n "as
alread! closed. Estrella sent a notice of dishonor and demand to ma%e good the said
chec%s to Macalalag, but the latter failed to do so. (ence, Estrella filed t"o criminal
complaints for )iolation of $atas Pambansa $lg. **. Petitioner Macalalag claims that,
considering that she had alread! paid P1+,,000.00 at the time the sub-ect chec%s "ere
presented for pa!ment, the amount of P100,000.00 should be applied for redemption
of the first chec% and the remaining amount of P+,,000.00 should be treated as partial
redemption of the second chec%. Petitioner Macalalag posits that said partial
redemption e.empts her from criminal liabilit! because it "as made before the chec%
"as presented for pa!ment.
/ssue: 0hether or not petitioner Macalalag is e.empted from criminal liabilit! based
on the partial redemption of the second chec%.
(eld: #o. /t is "ell to note that the gravamen of $atas Pambansa $lg. ** is the
issuance of a chec%, not the nonpa!ment of an obligation.
The la" has made the act
of issuing a bum chec% a malum prohibitum.
3onse4uentl!, the lac% of criminal
intent on the part of the accused is irrelevant.
/n the case at bar, onl! a full pa!ment of the face value of the second chec% at
the time of its presentment or during the five5da! grace period
could have
e.onerated her from criminal liabilit!. contrar! interpretation "ould defeat the
purpose of $atas Pambansa $lg. **, that of safeguarding the interest of the ban%ing
s!stem and the legitimate public chec%ing account user,
as the dra"er could ver!
"ell have himself e.onerated b! the mere e.pedienc! of pa!ing a minimal fraction of
the face value of the chec%. #either could petitioner Macalalag6s subse4uent pa!ment
of P122,178.21 during the pendenc! of the cases against her before the MT33 result
in freeing her from criminal liabilit! because the same had alread! attached after the
chec% "as dishonored. 9aid subse4uent pa!ments can onl! affect her civil, not
criminal, liabilit!. subse4uent pa!ment b! the accused "ould not obliterate the
criminal liabilit! theretofore alread! incurred.