Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 31

G.R. Nos.

59568-76 January 11, 1990 same bouncing checks will put him in jeopardy of being convicted twice for the same
offenses. In other words, can petitioner be held liable for the nine criminal cases for
PETER NIERRAS, petitioner, violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22, and separately also be held liable for the crime
vs. of estafa under Article 315 (2-d) of the Revised Penal Code for the issuance of the
HON. AUXENCIO C. DACUYCUY and HON. ANTONIO S. LOPEZ, in their capacity same bouncing checks?
as Presiding Judge, Branch IV, Court of First Instance of Leyte, Palo, Leyte, and
City Fiscal of Tacloban City, Leyte, respectively, respondents. It appears that petitioner, a customer of Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation,
purchased oil products from it. Simultaneous with the delivery of the products, he
PARAS, J.: issued nine (9) checks in payment thereof. Upon presentation to the Philippine
National Bank at Naval, Leyte, said checks were dishonored for the reason that his
account was already closed. Thereafter, Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation
Before Us is a petition for certiorari with preliminary injunction for the annulment of the repeatedly demanded of petitioner either to deposit funds for his checks or pay for the
resolution dated September 17, 1981 of the respondent Judge Auxencio C. Dacuycuy oil products he had purchased but he failed and refused to do either.
in nine (9) criminal cases, entitled "People of the Philippines v. Peter Nierras"
docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. 4379, 4380, 4381, 4382, 4383, 4384, 4385, 4386
and 4387, for estafa under Article 315 (2-d) of the Revised Penal Code which denied Petitioner argues that he would be placed in double jeopardy as all the elements of
petitioner's motion to quash. Said motion to quash was filed by petitioner on the estafa under Article 315 (2-d) of the Revised Penal Code are also present in that
ground of double jeopardy as these offenses were already included in Criminal Cases crime punishable under Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 namely (1) "the postdating or
Nos. 3790, 3791, 3792, 3793, 4085, 4122, 4123, 4124, and 4125, entitled "People of issuance of a check in payment of an obligation contracted at the time the check was
the Philippines v. Peter Nierras," for violation of the Bouncing Checks Law or Batas issued; (2) lack or insufficiency of funds to cover the check and (3) damage to the
Pambansa Blg. 22, pending before the lower court. In both sets of criminal cases, payee thereof."
petitioner entered a plea of not guilty upon arraignment before the lower court.
However, immediately after his plea of not guilty in these estafa cases, petitioner Petitioner's contentions are devoid of merit.
moved in open court to be allowed to withdraw his plea of not guilty upon his filing of
a motion to quash, which was denied by respondent Judge ruling as follows: Petitioner is charged with two (2) distinct and separate offenses, first under Section 1
of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 approved on April 3, 1979 which provides that:
The motion to quash should be and is hereby denied. Accused Peter Nierras
allegedly issued the checks in favor of complainant Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Any person who makes or draws and issues any check to apply on account or for
Corporation in payment of oil products which the latter delivered to him value, knowing at the time of issue that he does not have sufficient funds in or credit
simultaneously with the issuance of the checks. with the drawee bank for the payment of such check in full upon its presentment,
which check is subsequently dishonored by the drawee bank for insufficiency of funds
xxx xxx xxx or credit or would have been dishonored for the same reason had not the drawer,
without any valid reason ordered the bank to stop payment, shall be punished by
. . . The crime of estafa committed by means of bouncing checks is not committed by imprisonment of not less than thirty days but not more than one (1) year or by a fine
mere issuance of a check. Under Art. 315, par. 2 (d) of the Revised Penal Code, as of not less than but not more than double the amount of the check which fine shall in
amended by Republic Act 4885, the following are the elements of estafa: (1) the no case exceed TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS or both such fine and
postdating or issuance of a check in payment of an obligation contracted at the time imprisonment at the discretion of the court.
the check was issued; (2) lack of or insufficiency of funds to cover the check; and (3)
damage to the payee thereof (People v. Sabio, 86 SCRA 568). Under Batas and, second, under Article 315, (2-d) of the Revised Penal Code which states as
Pambansa Bilang 22 (1979) the mere issuance of a check without sufficient funds follows:
issued in payment of a simultaneous obligation and the check was dishonored upon
presentation for that estafa is committed under the Revised Penal Code. At the same Art. 315. Swindling (estafa). Any person who shall defraud another by any of the
time, the drawer will also be liable under Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 for offense of means mentioned herein below . . .
issuing a check without sufficient funds (pp. 1-2, Resolution On Motion To Quash
dated September 17, 1981; Annex "MM", Petition). (p. 100, Rollo)
xxx xxx xxx
The issue now submitted for Our consideration is whether the filing of the nine (9)
other informations for estafa against petitioner under the Revised Penal Code after he 2. By means of any of the following false pretenses or fraudulent acts, executed prior
had earlier been charged with violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 for issuing the to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud;
xxx xxx xxx contemporaneously with incurring, of an obligation, then he will be liable not only for
estafa but also for violation for this Act. There is a difference between the two cases.
(d) By postdating a check or issuing a check in payment of an obligation when the In that situation where the check was issued in payment of a pre-existing obligation,
offender had no funds in the bank, or his funds deposited therein were not sufficient the issuance of the check does not cause damage to the payee and so it is but
to cover the amount of the check. appropriate that he should not be held for estafa but only for violating this Act. But if
he issued a check to induce another, to part with a valuable consideration and the
check bounces, then he does inflict an injury to the payee of the check apart from
What petitioner failed to mention in his argument is the fact that deceit and damage violating this law. In that case, it should be but fair that he be subject to prosecution
are essential elements in Article 315 (2-d) Revised Penal Code, but are not required not only for estafa but also for violating this law.
in Batas Pambansa Bilang 22. Under the latter law, mere issuance of a check that is
dishonored gives rise to the presumption of knowledge on the part of the drawer that
he issued the same without sufficient funds and hence punishable (People v. MR. VELOSO, F. Yes, I agree with the Solicitor General on that point but my worry is
Veridiano, 132 SCRA 523) which is not so under the Penal Code. Other differences with respect to situations where there is prosecution first to estafa.
between the two also include the following: (1) a drawer of a dishonored check may
be convicted under Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 even if he had issued the same for MR. MENDOZA. Well, if there is estafa . . .
a pre-existing obligation, while under Article 315 (2-d) of the Revised Penal Code
such circumstance negates criminal liability; (2) specific and different penalties are MR. VELOSO, F. Estafa committed by the issuance of a bouncing check, in which
imposed in each of the two offenses; (3) estafa is essentially a crime against property, case it will be mandatory on the part of the prosecuting official to also file a case for
while violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 is principally a crime against public violation of this offense under the proposed bill.
interest as it does injury to the entire banking system; (4) violations of Article 315 of
the Revised Penal Code are mala in se, while those of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22
are mala prohibita. MR. MENDOZA. Yes, that is correct. In such a situation because if the offender did
not only cause injury on account of the issuance of the check but did issue a
bouncing check penalized under this Act, then he will be liable for prosecution under
These differences are better understood by presenting the pertinent discussions on both laws. I would admit that perhaps in such situation, the penalty may be somewhat
the passage of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 between the author of the bill, former severe. As a matter of fact, in other jurisdictions, the issuance of bouncing checks is
Solicitor General and Member of the Batasang Pambansa, the Honorable Estelito P. penalized with substantially lower penalty. However, because of the situation in the
Mendoza, presented in the memorandum for the government as follows: Philippines, the situation being now relatively grave that practically everybody is
complaining about bouncing checks, may be it is necessary at least initially, at this
MR. MENDOZA. If there is evidence demonstrating that the act committed does not point in time for us to impose a rather severe penalty and even allow liability not only
only violate this proposed Act but also the Revised Penal Code, there will be further under this Act but also for estafa. Then perhaps, after the necessary discipline has
prosecution under the Revised Penal Code. That is why it is proposed in this Act that been inculcated in our people and that the incidence of the offense has been
there be a single uniform penalty for all violations in this Act. However the court is reduced, we may then decide to amend the law and reduce the penalty. But at this
given the discretion whether to impose imprisonment or fine or both or also in time, shall we say the evil is of such magnitude that only a dramatic and expeditious
whatever severity the court may consider appropriate under the circumstances. effort to prosecute persons who issue bouncing checks may be necessary to curb
quickly this evil. (explanations given by Solicitor General ESTELITO P. MENDOZA at
xxx xxx xxx the Batasan Pambansa during his sponsorship speech of BP 22 which he authored,
pages 1037-1038, Record of the Batasan, Plenary Session No. 70, Dec. 4, 1978).
(Emphasis supplied). (pp. 115-117, Rollo or pp. 9-11, Memorandum for respondents).
MR. VELOSO, F. The other way around, it is not so. So precisely, if I file a case for
estafa against a particular person for issuance of a bouncing check, then necessarily I
can also be prosecuted under this proposed bill. On the other hand, if a person is Furthermore, Section 5 of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 provides that:
prosecuted under the proposed bill, it does not necessarily follow that he can be
prosecuted for estafa. Prosecution under this Act shall be without prejudice to any liability for violation of any
provision of the Revised Penal Code.
MR. MENDOZA. This is simply because that in a certain set of circumstances, the
offense under this Act is the only offense committed while under a different set of While the filing of the two sets of Information under the provisions of Batas Pambansa
circumstances, not only the offense described in this Act is committed but also estafa. Bilang 22 and under the provisions of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, on
So that, for example, if a check with sufficient funds is issued in payment of a pre- estafa, may refer to identical acts committed by petitioner, the prosecution thereof
existing obligation and the position of the Government should turn out to be correct cannot be limited to one offense, because a single criminal act may give rise to a
that there is no estafa, then the drawer of the check would only be liable under this multiplicity of offenses and where there is variance or differences between the
Act but not under the Revised Penal Code. But if he issues a check in payment, or elements of an offense in one law and another law as in the case at bar there will be
no double jeopardy because what the rule on double jeopardy prohibits refers to
identity of elements in the two (2) offenses. Otherwise stated prosecution for the
same act is not prohibited. What is forbidden is prosecution for the same offense.
Hence, the mere filing of the two (2) sets of information does not itself give rise to
double jeopardy (People v. Miraflores, 115 SCRA 570).

In the instant petition, certiorari is not the proper remedy. We have held in Acharon
v. Purisima, et al. (13 SCRA 309) that "when a motion to quash a criminal case is
denied, remedy is not certiorari but to go to court without prejudice to reiterating
special defenses invoked in the motion, and if after trial on the merits, an adverse
decision is rendered, to appeal therefrom in the manner authorized by law," invoking
the rule laid down in People v. Magdaluyo (1 SCRA 990). If the petitioner cannot
appeal at this state of the proceeding, it is because there is still a necessity for the
trial on the merits wherein the parties may present proofs in support of their
contentions and not because the remedy of appeal is unavailing.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition for certiorari is hereby DISMISSED


for lack of merit.

SO ORDERED.
that these were delivered to respondent not as payment but as a guarantee and on
condition that Aguilar will replace petitioners checks with her own, which Aguilar did
prior to the maturity of petitioners checks; that upon maturity of Aguilars replacement
checks and after respondent presented them for payment and were subsequently
G.R. No. 154438 September 5, 2007 dishonored, it was then that petitioners checks were also presented by respondent
for encashment; that Aguilars replacement checks are now subject of another
litigation pending in the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City; that the sequence of
ALICIA F. RICAFORTE, petitioner, events showed that indeed petitioners checks were not intended as payment to
vs. respondent because petitioner had no obligation to respondent; that the checks were
LEON L. JURADO, respondent. not issued to account or for value; thus, there can be no finding of prima
facie evidence of the charges against him relying on Magno v. Court of Appeals.5
DECISION
Respondents Motion for Reconsideration was denied in a Resolution6 dated May 27,
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.: 1998. The prosecutor found that although the issuance of a worthless check is malum
prohibitum, B.P. Blg. 22 still requires that the checks should be issued with
consideration, which element was lacking in this case; that even respondent admitted
Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court
in his Complaint-Affidavit that petitioner had no transaction with him by alleging that
seeking to annul and set aside the Decision 1 dated April 26, 2002 and the
Aguilar handed to him petitioners two checks in payment of rice procurement
Resolution2 dated July 29, 2002 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No.
representing these as Aguilars collection checks and with assurance that they are
66293.
good; that when Aguilar replaced petitioners checks with her own, petitioners checks
had no more consideration since these were issued upon agreement that the real
On February 10, 1997, respondent filed a Complaint 3 for estafa and violation of Batas debtor, Aguilar, will also issue her own checks.
Pambansa (B.P.) Blg. 22 against Alicia F. Ricaforte (petitioner) with the Quezon City
Prosecutors Office. He alleged that he operates and manages a rice mill in Bulacan;
Respondent appealed the dismissal of his complaint to the Department of Justice.
that sometime in June 1996, Ruby Aguilar (Aguilar) procured rice from him and in
The Secretary of Justice issued a Resolution 7 dated September 21, 2000 modifying
payment thereof gave him two Far East Bank and Trust Company (FEBTC) checks,
the Resolution of the City Prosecutor and directing him to file an information against
to wit: FEBTC Check No. 08A096028P dated July 25, 1996 and Check No.
petitioner for violation of B.P. Blg. 22.
08A096029P dated August 25, 1996, in the amount of P431,555.00 each, which were
both issued by petitioner and when presented for payment were dishonored.
The Justice Secretary found that while the dismissal of estafa is correct, petitioner
should be indicted for B.P. Blg. 22. In so ruling, the Secretary found that while
In her Counter-Affidavit, petitioner denied the accusation. She alleged that Aguilar
petitioner has no business transactions with respondent and merely issued the
who had lost her Metrobank checkbook borrowed her checks to pay off Aguilars
checks as a guarantee for Aguilars obligation to respondent, the fact remains that
obligations with Leon Jurado (respondent); that she willingly lent her checks to Aguilar
petitioner issued the subject checks and failed to pay respondent the amount due
on condition that these checks will be replaced with Aguilars own checks once her
thereon or make arrangements for their full payment within five banking days after
new checkbook is issued to her by Metrobank; that Aguilar then used petitioners
receiving a notice of dishonor; that the gravamen of the offense punished by B.P. Blg.
checks to pay her rice procurement with respondent; that in accordance with the
22 is the act of making and issuing worthless checks or those dishonored upon their
arrangement, Aguilar issued two replacement checks in favor of respondent in the
presentment for payment; that the thrust of the law is to prohibit the making of
amount of P431,555.00 each; that when Aguilar issued the replacement checks,
worthless checks and putting them in circulation; that to require the arrangement
petitioner demanded from respondent the return of her checks but respondent
surrounding the issuance of the checks be first looked into and thereafter exempt
refused, thus she was constrained to request her bank to issue an order of stop
such issuance from the punitive provisions of B.P. Blg. 22 on the basis of that
payment. Aguilar executed an Affidavit corroborating petitioners defense.
arrangement would frustrate the very purpose for which the law was enacted, i.e. to
stop the proliferation of unfunded checks; that B.P. Blg. 22 applies even when
Respondent filed his Reply denying that petitioners checks were merely dishonored checks were issued merely in the form of deposit or guarantee.
accommodation checks. Petitioner filed her rejoinder as well as supplement to
rejoinder.
The Justice Secretary denied petitioners Motion for Reconsideration in a
Resolution8 dated May 30, 2001.
In a Resolution4 dated November 24, 1997, Assistant City Prosecutor Luis Zenon Q.
Maceren dismissed the complaint for estafa and B.P. Blg. 22 for insufficiency of
Petitioner filed with the CA a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 assailing the
evidence. The prosecutor found that petitioner did not have any business transaction
resolutions of the Secretary of Justice for having been issued with grave abuse of
with respondent; that the subject checks were issued only to accommodate Aguilar;
discretion.
On April 26, 2002, the CA issued its assailed Decision denying the petition for lack of III
merit. The CA found no grave abuse of discretion committed by the Justice Secretary
in his assailed Resolutions. It ruled that trial on the merits must ensue since it is on THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A SERIOUS
said occasion that petitioner is granted opportunity for a full and exhaustive REVERSIBLE ERROR IN NOT HOLDING THAT THERE IS NO NEED TO
presentation of her evidence and not during the preliminary investigation phase where GO TO TRIAL IN THE INSTANT CASE BECAUSE EVEN DURING THE
the investigating officer acts upon probable cause and reasonable belief; that in the PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION CONDUCTED BY THE QUEZON CITY
preliminary investigation phase, it is not yet clear whether petitioner could be PROSECUTION OFFICE, THE SAID PROSECUTION OFFICE HAD
considered as having actually committed the offense charged and sought to be FOUND THAT NO PRIMA FACIE OR PROBABLE CAUSE EXISTS TO
punished, although petitioner is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond WARRANT THE FILING OF THE COMPLAINTS OF ESTAFA AND
reasonable doubt; that the crux of the matter rests upon the reasons for the drawing VIOLATION OF B.P. BLG. 22 AGAINST THE PETITIONER.
of the postdated checks by petitioner; i.e., whether they were drawn or issued "to
apply on account or for value" as required under B.P. Blg. 22 which will only be
determined during trial. IV

Petitioners Motion for Reconsideration was denied in a Resolution dated July 29, THE AFFIRMANCE BY THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS OF THE
2002. The CA ruled that mere issuance of a bouncing check constitutes a probable MODIFIED RESOLUTION OF THE HONORABLE SECRETARY OF
cause for violation of B.P. Blg. 22; that whether or not the accused is guilty thereof is JUSTICE DIRECTING THE FILING OFAN INFORMATION AGAINST
determined in the trial proper; that preliminary investigation is not a trial and is not PETITIONER FOR VIOLATION OF B.P. BLG. 22 OVERLOOKED THE FACT
intended to usurp the function of the trial court; that Sales, which is invoked by THAT RESPONDENT WOULD BE UNJUSTLY ENRICHED AT THE
petitioner, is not applicable to the instant case, since the issue in that case was EXPENSE OF PETITIONER AND THE DEBTOR, MS RUBY AGUILAR, IN
whether or not the Ombudsman followed the proper procedure in conducting a THE FORM OF IMPOSITION OF A FINE WHICH IS DOUBLE THE
preliminary investigation and the corollary issue of whether or not petitioner was AMOUNT OF THE BOUNCED CHECKS.9
afforded an opportunity to be heard and to submit controverting evidence which are
not the issues in this case. The main issue to be resolved is whether the CA erred in ruling that the Secretary of
Justice did not commit grave abuse of discretion in finding that there is probable
Hence, herein petition on the following grounds: cause for the filing of information against petitioner for violation of B.P. Blg. 22.

I Petitioner alleges that the CA should not have sustained the modified resolution of the
Secretary of Justice because the Secretary misappreciated her defense, i.e., that
Aguilar lost her Metrobank checkbook and borrowed her check and that she issued
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A GRAVE the subject checks on the condition that the same will be replaced when Aguilars new
REVERSIBLE ERROR IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE HONORABLE checkbook is issued, thus the subject checks are merely accommodation or
SECRETARY OF JUSTICE COMMITTED A GRAVE ABUSE OF guarantee checks; that it was Aguilar who tendered them to respondent in payment of
DISCRETION IN ISSUING HIS MODIFIED RESOLUTION FINDING her rice procurements from him; that the subject checks were not intended for
PROBABLE CAUSE AGAINST PETITIONER FOR VIOLATION OF B.P. encashment; that Aguilar subsequently issued her own checks dated July 20, 1996
BLG. 22, DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE HONORABLE SECRETARY HAS and August 20, 1996, for P431,555.00 each as replacement for the subject checks;
AGREED WITH THE FINDING OF THE QUEZON CITY PROSECUTION that such substitution was with respondents knowledge, since the arrangement was
OFFICE DISMISSING THE CHARGE OF ESTAFA AGAINST PETITIONER. brought to his attention through a letter dated July 19, 1996.

II Petitioner insists that none of the elements of the offense of B.P. Blg. 22 were
present; the first element is absent, since the subject checks were not intended to
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A SERIOUS apply on account or for value in favor of respondent, as petitioner had no business
REVERSIBLE ERROR IN NOT GIVING WEIGHT AND CREDENCE TO transaction on rice procurements with respondent; the second element is also absent
PETITIONERS CLAIM THAT THE SUBJECT CHECKS WERE NOT because it is undisputed that at the time petitioner issued the checks, she had
ISSUED TO ACCOUNT OR FOR VALUE BUT SOLELY TO GUARANTEE substantial deposits with FEBTC which can readily fund her checks upon
RUBY AGUILARS CHECKS, ESPECIALLY CONSIDERING THAT IT IS presentment or maturity; that the reason for the dishonor was "stop payment,"
UNDISPUTED THAT PETITIONER HAD NO BUSINESS DEALINGS because she requested the bank to do so due to a valid reason, i.e., her checks were
WHATSOEVER WITH THE RESPONDENT REGARDING RICE already replaced by Aguilars checks dated July 20, 1996 and August 20, 1996.
PROCUREMENTS. Petitioner cites Tan v. People,10 in which the petitioner was acquitted of violation
of B.P. Blg. 22 because in ordering the stop payment of her check, there were
sufficient funds in her account.
Petitioner claims that the CA overlooked the fact that the Secretary of Justice The same penalty shall be imposed upon any person who, having sufficient
absolved her of estafa; thus, she should also be absolved of violation of B.P. Blg. 22, funds in or credit with the drawee bank when he makes or draws and issues
since both offenses arose from the same subject checks. a check, shall fail to keep sufficient funds or to maintain a credit to cover the
full amount of the check if presented within a period of ninety (90) days from
Petitioner contends that the CA misappreciated the importance of a preliminary the date appearing thereon, for which reason it is dishonored by the drawee
investigation when it ruled that the trial on the merits must ensue, and it is on said bank.
occasion when petitioner is granted the opportunity for a full and exhaustive display of
her evidence; that it erred in ruling that it is only during trial that the presence or Where the check is drawn by a corporation, company or entity, the person or
absence of the first element of B.P. Blg. 22, i.e., whether the subject checks were persons who actually signed the check in behalf of such drawer shall be
issued to apply to account or for value, can be determined; that preliminary liable under this Act.
investigation should be given due importance and the determination of whether the
first element of B.P. Blg. 22 is present should not be shifted to the trial court; that To be liable for violation of B.P. Blg. 22, the following elements must be present:
contrary to the CAs finding, Sales is applicable, a case in which it was ruled that at
the preliminary investigation proper, the question whether or not an accused can be
bound over for trial can already be determined; if it was determined at the preliminary 1) The accused makes, draws or issues any check to apply to account or for
investigation that an accused had not committed the crime charged, then it is useless value;
to still hold a trial to determine the guilt of the accused, since it can already be
determined at the preliminary investigation. 2) The accused knows at the time of the issuance that he or she does not
have sufficient funds in, or credit with, the drawee bank for the payment of
We are not persuaded. the check in full upon its presentment; and

In a preliminary investigation, the public prosecutor merely determines whether there 3) The check is subsequently dishonored by the drawee bank for
is probable cause or sufficient ground to engender a well-founded belief that a crime insufficiency of funds or credit or it would have been dishonored for the
has been committed, and that the respondent is probably guilty thereof and should be same reason had not the drawer, without any valid reason, ordered the bank
held for trial.11 Probable cause implies probability of guilt and requires more than bare to stop payment.
suspicion but less than evidence which would justify a conviction. 12 A finding of
probable cause needs only to rest on evidence showing that more likely than not, a The gravamen of the offense punished by B.P. Blg. 22 is the act of making and
crime has been committed by the suspect.13 It does not call for the application of rules issuing a worthless check; that is, a check that is dishonored upon its presentation for
and standards of proof that a judgment of conviction requires after trial on the payment.17 In Lozano v. Martinez,18 we have declared that it is not the non-payment of
merits.14 The complainant need not present at this stage proof beyond reasonable an obligation which the law punishes. The law is not intended or designed to coerce a
doubt. A preliminary investigation does not require a full and exhaustive presentation debtor to pay his debt. The thrust of the law is to prohibit, under pain of penal
of the parties evidence.15 It is enough that in the absence of a clear showing of sanctions, the making and circulation of worthless checks. Because of its deleterious
arbitrariness, credence is given to the finding and determination of probable cause by effects on the public interest, the practice is proscribed by the law. The law punishes
the Secretary of Justice in a preliminary investigation.16 the act not as an offense against property, but an offense against public
order.19 In People v. Nitafan,20 we said that a check issued as an evidence of debt
Contrary to petitioners claim, respondent sufficiently established the existence of though not intended to be presented for payment has the same effect as an
probable cause for violation of B.P. Blg. 22. Section 1 of B.P. Blg. 22 provides: ordinary check and would fall within the ambit of B.P. Blg. 22.

SECTION 1. Checks without sufficient funds. - Any person who makes or In this case, petitioner issued the two subject checks in favor of respondent, and
draws and issues any check to apply on account or for value, knowing at the when respondent presented them for payment, they were dishonored for reason of
time of issue that he does not have sufficient funds in or credit with the the stop payment order issued by petitioner. Notably, a certification 21 from the bank
drawee bank for the payment of such check in full upon its presentment, showed that they returned the checks for that reason. In addition, contrary to the
which check is subsequently dishonored by the drawee bank for claim of petitioner, at the time the said checks were presented for deposit/payment,
insufficiency of funds or credit or would have been dishonored for the same there were no sufficient funds to cover the same. The mere act of issuing a worthless
reason had not the drawer, without any valid reason, ordered the bank to check -- whether as a deposit, as a guarantee or even as evidence of pre-existing
stop payment, shall be punished by imprisonment of not less than thirty days debt -- is malum prohibitum.22
but not more than one (1) year or by a fine of not less than but not more than
double the amount of the check which fine shall in no case exceed Two Petitioner claims that the subject checks were merely accommodation checks in favor
Hundred Thousand Pesos, or both such fine and imprisonment at the of Aguilar, as they were not issued to account or for value, since she had no business
discretion of the court. transactions with respondent-payee. However, petitioner admitted that she issued the
checks for the rice procurement of Aguilar from respondent which was a valuable to determine the reason for which checks are issued, or the terms and
consideration. Notably, in respondents complaint-affidavit, he alleged that the subject conditions for their issuance, before an appropriate application of the
checks were given to him by Aguilar in payment of the latters rice procurements, with legislative enactment can be made. The gravamen of the offense under BP
the representation that the subject checks were her collection checks and assuring 22 is the act of making or issuing a worthless check or a check that is
respondent that they would be good upon presentment. dishonored upon presentment for payment. The act effectively declares the
offense to be one of malum prohibitum. The only valid query then is whether
On record is a letter23 dated July 31, 1996 of respondents counsel to petitioner on the the law has been breached, i.e., by the mere act of issuing a bad check,
matter of petitioners subject FEBTC Check No. 08A096028P dated July 25, 1996, a without so much regard as to the criminal intent of the issuer.29
letter in which the counsel wrote that the check which was in partial payment of the
obligation due from Aguilar, and that in return for petitioners issuance and delivery of Also, in Cruz v. Court of Appeals,30 we held:
the said check, Aguilar acquired a temporary reprieve on her obligation.
It is now settled that Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 applies even in cases
The validity and merits of a partys defense and accusation, as well as admissibility of where dishonored checks are issued merely in the form of a deposit or a
testimonies and evidence, are better ventilated during trial proper than at the guarantee. The enactment in question does not make any distinction as to
preliminary investigation level.24 A finding of probable cause does not ensure a whether the checks within its contemplation are issued in payment of an
conviction or a conclusive finding of guilt beyond reasonable doubt. The allegations obligation or merely to guarantee the said obligation. In accordance with the
adduced by the prosecution will be put to test in a full-blown trial in which evidence pertinent rule of statutory construction, inasmuch as the law has not made
shall be analyzed, weighed, given credence or disproved.25 any distinction in this regard, no such distinction can be made by means of
interpretation or application. Furthermore, the history of the enactment of
In fact, petitioners argument that respondent was aware of the fact that the subject subject statute evinces the definite legislative intent to make the prohibition
checks were only accommodation checks in favor of Aguilar is not a defense against all-embracing, without making any exception from the operation thereof in
a charge for violation of B.P. Blg. 22. In Ruiz v. People of the Philippines,26 where the favor of a guarantee. This intent may be gathered from the statement of the
accused interposed the defense of accommodation party, we held: sponsor of the bill (Cabinet Bill No. 9) which was enacted later into Batas
Pambansa Bilang 22, when it was introduced before the Batasan
Pambansa, that the bill was introduced to discourage the issuance of
It bears stressing that, whether a person is an accommodation party is a bouncing checks, to prevent checks, from becoming useless scraps of
question of intent. When the intent of the parties does not appear on the face paper and to restore respectability to checks, all without distinction as to the
of the check, it must be ascertained in the light of the surrounding facts and purpose of the issuance of the checks. The legislative intent as above said is
circumstances. Invariably, the tests applied are the purpose test and the made all the more clear when it is considered that while the original text of
proceeds test. x x x. And even assuming she was such party, this Cabinet Bill No. 9, supra, had contained a proviso excluding from the
circumstance is not a defense to a charge for violation of B.P. 22. What the coverage of the law a check issued as a mere guarantee, the final version of
law punishes is the issuance itself of a bouncing check and not the purpose the bill as approved and enacted by the Committee on the Revision of Laws
for which it was issued or of the terms and conditions relating to its issuance. in the Batasan deleted the abovementioned qualifying proviso deliberately
The mere act of issuing a worthless check, whether merely as an for the purpose of making the enforcement of the act more effective
accommodation, is covered by B.P. 22. Hence, the agreement surrounding (Batasan Record, First Regular Session, December 4, 1978, Volume II, pp.
the issuance of a check is irrelevant to the prosecution and conviction of the 1035-1036).
petitioner.27
Consequently, what are important are the facts that the accused had
In Meriz v. People of the Philippines,28 we held: deliberately issued the checks in question to cover accounts and that the
checks were dishonored upon presentment regardless of whether or not the
The Court has consistently declared that the cause or reason for the accused merely issued the checks as a guarantee.31
issuance of the check is inconsequential in determining criminal culpability
under BP 22. The Court has since said that a "check issued as an evidence Petitioner invokes our ruling in Magno v. Court of Appeals 32 where the accused
of debt, although not intended for encashment, has the same effect like any therein was acquitted of B.P. Blg. 22 for issuing checks to collateralize an
other check" and must thus be held to be "within the contemplation of BP accommodation and not to cover the receipt of actual account or for value. In Magno,
22." Once a check is presented for payment, the drawee bank gives it the the accused, who was in the process of putting up a car repair shop, was provided
usual course whether issued in payment of an obligation or just as a with credit facilities by LS Finance and Management Corporation (LS Finance) to
guaranty of an obligation. BP 22 does not appear to concern itself with what enable him to lease from MANCOR the needed equipments. As part of their
might actually be envisioned by the parties, its primordial intention being to arrangement, LS Finance required a 30% warranty deposit of the "purchase/lease"
instead ensure the stability and commercial value of checks as being virtual value of the equipments to be transacted upon. Accused then asked the LS Finance
substitutes for currency. It is a policy that can easily be eroded if one has yet
Vice President Joey Gomez to look for a third party who could lend him the equivalent bank because of insufficient funds in or credit with such bank, when
amount of the warranty deposit as he did not have such amount, however, unknown presented within ninety (90) days from the date of the check, shall be prima
to the accused, it was Corazon Teng (Vice President of MANCOR) who advanced the facie evidence of knowledge of such insufficiency of funds or credit unless
deposit in question on condition that the same would be paid as a short term loan at such maker or drawer pays the holder thereof the amount due thereon, or
3% interest. The accused subsequently issued checks to collateralize an makes arrangements for payment in full by the drawee of such check within
accommodation made by Teng amounting to Twenty Nine Thousand Seven Hundred five (5) banking days after receiving notice that such check has not been
Pesos (P29,700.00) as warranty deposit. Subsequently, the said checks bounced; paid by the drawee.
thus the accused was prosecuted and the lower courts convicted him of B.P. Blg. 22.
On a Petition for Review on Certiorari, we however acquitted the accused and held Such knowledge is legally presumed from the dishonor of the checks for insufficiency
that the "cash out" made by Teng was not used by the accused who was just paying of funds.36 If not rebutted, it suffices to sustain a conviction.37
rental on the equipments. To charge him for the refund of a "warranty deposit" he did
not withdraw, because it was not his own account and it remained with LS Finance,
would be to make him pay an unjust "debt," to say the least, since he did not actually We also find no merit in petitioners claim that since the Secretary of Justice absolved
receive the amount involved. We also held that this is a scheme whereby Teng as the her of estafa, she should also be absolved of violation of B.P. Blg. 22, since both
supplier of the equipment in the name of Mancor, would be able to sell or lease its offenses arose from the same subject checks. While deceit and damage are essential
goods as in this case, and at the same time privately finance those who desperately elements in estafa, they are not required in B.P. Blg. 22. As already aforestated,
needed petty accommodations as obtaining in said case; that this modus operandi, in under B.P. Blg. 22, mere issuance of a check that is dishonored gives rise to the
so many instances, victimized unsuspecting businessmen who likewise needed presumption of knowledge on the part of the drawer that he issued the same without
protection from the law by availing themselves of the deceptively called "warranty sufficient funds and is hence punishable.
deposit," not realizing that they would fall prey to a leasing equipment under the guise
of a lease-purchase agreement, when it was a scheme designed to skim off a We do not subscribe to petitioners argument that for Aguilars rice procurements from
business client. respondent, Aguilar had made substantial payments to respondent through cashiers
checks totalling P313,255.00; that despite these substantial payments, respondent
It bears stressing that Magno was decided after a full-blown trial, and the proof still wanted to collect from petitioners subject checks the total amount
needed to convict the accused was proof beyond reasonable doubt, which was not of P863,110.00; that respondent wanted to collect from both petitioner and Aguilar for
established in that case. the latters rice procurement. It is during the trial of this case that evidence may be
introduced to prove petitioners contentions. As of now, it has been established that
when the subject checks were deposited, they were all dishonored.
On the other hand, herein case is still in the preliminary investigation stage which is
merely inquisitorial, and it is often the only means of discovering the persons who
may be reasonably charged with a crime, to enable the fiscal to prepare his complaint Furthermore, the allegation of petitioner that if the information for B.P. Blg. 22 would
or information.33 It is not a trial of the case on the merits and has no purpose except be filed and in the remote event that petitioner would be found guilty thereof, then the
that of determining whether a crime has been committed and whether there is trial court may impose a fine double the amount of the checks, which fine may
probable cause to believe that the accused is guilty. 34 It is not the occasion for the full amount to millions of pesos; and that this is unjust enrichment on respondents part at
and exhaustive display of the parties evidence; it is for the presentation of such the expense of petitioner and Aguilar deserves scant consideration. Suffice it to state
evidence only as may engender a well-grounded belief that an offense has been that the fine that may be imposed by the court is not awarded to the private
committed and that the accused is probably guilty thereof.35 We are in accord with the complainant. Fine is imposed as a penalty and not as payment for a specific loss or
Justice Secretarys finding that there is reasonable ground to believe that a violation injury.38
of B.P. Blg. 22 has been committed by petitioner, thus, we refrain from prejudging the
applicablity or inapplicability of Magno in this case. In fine, the CA did not commit any error in upholding the findings of the Secretary of
Justice that probable cause exists that the crime of violation of B.P. Blg. 22 has been
Petitioner alleges that at the time she issued the subject checks, she has substantial committed by petitioner.
funds in the bank to cover the value thereof. This is evidentiary in nature which must
be presented during trial more so in the light of the bank certification that there were WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated April 26, 2002 and the
no sufficient funds to cover the checks when presented for deposit/payment. Resolution dated July 29, 2002 of the Court of Appeals are hereby AFFIRMED.

The law itself creates a prima facie presumption of knowledge of insufficiency of Costs against petitioner.
funds. Section 2 of B.P. Blg. 22 provides:
SO ORDERED.
Section 2. Evidence of knowledge of insufficient funds. The making,
drawing and issuance of a check payment of which is refused by the drawee
-do- September 20, 1998 January 20, 1999 2,500.00 000004580
9
-do- September 20, 1998 January 20, 1999 100,000.0 000004581
0 0
-do- September 30, 1998 January 30, 1999 5,000.00 000004581
4
-do- September 30, 1998 January 30, 1999 200,000.0 000004581
0 5
-do- October 3, 1998 February 3, 1999 2,500.00 000004587
5
-do- October 3, 1998 February 3, 1999 100,000.0 000004587
0 6
G.R. NO. 191404 July 5, 2010
-do- November 17, 1998 February17, 1999 5,000.00 000004606
1
EUMELIA R. MITRA, Petitioner, -do- November 17, 1998 March 17, 1999 5,000.00 000004606
vs. 2
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and FELICISIMO S. TARCELO, Respondents. -do- November 17, 1998 March 17, 1999 200,000.0 000004606
0 3
DECISION -do- November 19, 1998 January 19, 1999 2,500.00 000004606
5
MENDOZA, J.: -do- November 19, 1998 February19, 1999 2,500.00 000004606
6
-do- November 19, 1998 2,500.00 000004606
This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing 7
the July 31, 2009 Decision1and the February 11, 2010 Resolution of the Court of March 19, 1999
Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR No. 31740. The subject decision and resolution affirmed -do- November 19, 1998 100,000.0 000004606
the August 22, 2007 Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 2, Batangas March 19, 1999 0 8
City (RTC) which, in turn, affirmed the May 21, 2007 Decision of the Municipal Trial -do- November 20, 1998 January 20, 1999 10,000.00 000004607
Court in Cities, Branch 2, Batangas City (MTCC). 0
-do- November 20, 1998 February 20, 1999 10,000.00 000004607
THE FACTS: 1
-do- November 20, 1998 March 20, 1999 10,000.00 000004607
Petitioner Eumelia R. Mitra (Mitra) was the Treasurer, and Florencio L. Cabrera, Jr. 2
(now deceased) was the President, of Lucky Nine Credit Corporation (LNCC), a -do- November 20, 1998 March 20, 1999 10,000.00 000004607
corporation engaged in money lending activities. 3
-do- November 30, 1998 January 30, 1999 2,500.00 000004607
5
Between 1996 and 1999, private respondent Felicisimo S. Tarcelo (Tarcelo) invested -do- November 30, 1998 February 28, 1999 2,500.00 000004607
money in LNCC. As the usual practice in money placement transactions, Tarcelo was 6
issued checks equivalent to the amounts he invested plus the interest on his
-do- November 30, 1998 March 30, 1999 2,500.00 000004607
investments. The following checks, signed by Mitra and Cabrera, were issued by 7
LNCC to Tarcelo.2
-do- November 30, 1998 March 30, 1999 100,000.0 000004607
0 8
Bank Date Issued Date of Check
Amount Check No. When Tarcelo presented these checks for payment, they were dishonored for the
Security September 15, 1998 reason "account closed." Tarcelo made several oral demands on LNCC for the
Bank January 15, 1999 P 3,125.00 000004580 payment of these checks but he was frustrated. Constrained, in 2002, he caused the
4 filing of seven informations for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 (BP 22) in the
-do- September 15, 1998 January 15, 1999 125,000.0 000004580 total amount of P925,000.00 with the MTCC in Batangas City.31avvphi1
0 5
After trial on the merits, the MTCC found Mitra and Cabrera guilty of the charges. The ACCOUNT WHERE THE SUBJECT CHECKS WERE DRAWN BEFORE
fallo of the May 21, 2007 MTCC Decision4 reads: LIABILITY ATTACHES TO THE SIGNATORIES.

WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, the accused FLORENCIO I. 2. WHETHER OR NOT THERE IS PROPER SERVICE OF NOTICE OF
CABRERA, JR., and EUMELIA R. MITRA are hereby found guilty of the offense of DISHONOR AND DEMAND TO PAY TO THE PETITIONER AND THE LATE
violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 and are hereby ORDERED to respectively pay FLORENCIO CABRERA, JR.
the following fines for each violation and with subsidiary imprisonment in all cases, in
case of insolvency: The Court denies the petition.

1. Criminal Case No. 43637 - P200,000.00 A check is a negotiable instrument that serves as a substitute for money and as a
convenient form of payment in financial transactions and obligations. The use of
2. Criminal Case No. 43640 - P100,000.00 checks as payment allows commercial and banking transactions to proceed without
the actual handling of money, thus, doing away with the need to physically count bills
3. Criminal Case No. 43648 - P100,000.00 and coins whenever payment is made. It permits commercial and banking
transactions to be carried out quickly and efficiently. But the convenience afforded by
checks is damaged by unfunded checks that adversely affect confidence in our
4. Criminal Case No. 43700 - P125,000.00 commercial and banking activities, and ultimately injure public interest.

5. Criminal Case No. 43702 - P200,000.00 BP 22 or the Bouncing Checks Law was enacted for the specific purpose of
addressing the problem of the continued issuance and circulation of unfunded checks
6. Criminal Case No. 43704 - P100,000.00 by irresponsible persons. To stem the harm caused by these bouncing checks to the
community, BP 22 considers the mere act of issuing an unfunded check as an offense
7. Criminal Case No. 43706 - P100,000.00 not only against property but also against public order. 7 The purpose of BP 22 in
declaring the mere issuance of a bouncing check as malum prohibitum is to punish
the offender in order to deter him and others from committing the offense, to isolate
Said accused, nevertheless, are adjudged civilly liable and are ordered to pay, in him from society, to reform and rehabilitate him, and to maintain social order. 8The
solidum, private complainant Felicisimo S. Tarcelo the amount of NINE HUNDRED penalty is stiff. BP 22 imposes the penalty of imprisonment for at least 30 days or a
TWENTY FIVE THOUSAND PESOS (P925,000.000). fine of up to double the amount of the check or both imprisonment and fine.

SO ORDERED. Specifically, BP 22 provides:

Mitra and Cabrera appealed to the Batangas RTC contending that: they signed the SECTION 1. Checks Without Sufficient Funds. - Any person who makes or draws and
seven checks in blank with no name of the payee, no amount stated and no date of issues any check to apply on account or for value, knowing at the time of issue that
maturity; they did not know when and to whom those checks would be issued; the he does not have sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank for the payment of
seven checks were only among those in one or two booklets of checks they were such check in full upon its presentment, which check is subsequently dishonored by
made to sign at that time; and that they signed the checks so as not to delay the the drawee bank for insufficiency of funds or credit or would have been dishonored for
transactions of LNCC because they did not regularly hold office there.5 the same reason had not the drawer, without any valid reason, ordered the bank to
stop payment, shall be punished by imprisonment of not less than thirty days but not
The RTC affirmed the MTCC decision and later denied their motion for more than one (1) year or by a fine of not less than but not more than double the
reconsideration. Meanwhile, Cabrera died. Mitra alone filed this petition for amount of the check which fine shall in no case exceed Two Hundred Thousand
review6 claiming, among others, that there was no proper service of the notice of Pesos, or both such fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court.
dishonor on her. The Court of Appeals dismissed her petition for lack of merit.
The same penalty shall be imposed upon any person who, having sufficient funds in
Mitra is now before this Court on a petition for review and submits these issues: or credit with the drawee bank when he makes or draws and issues a check, shall fail
to keep sufficient funds or to maintain a credit to cover the full amount of the check if
presented within a period of ninety (90) days from the date appearing thereon, for
1. WHETHER OR NOT THE ELEMENTS OF VIOLATION OF BATAS
which reason it is dishonored by the drawee bank.
PAMBANSA BILANG 22 MUST BE PROVED BEYOND REASONABLE
DOUBT AS AGAINST THE CORPORATION WHO OWNS THE CURRENT
Where the check is drawn by a corporation, company or entity, the person or persons facts or circumstances that warrant a different disposition of the case 11 or that the
who actually signed the check in behalf of such drawer shall be liable under this Act. findings of fact have no basis on record. Hence, with respect to the issue of the
propriety of service on Mitra of the notice of dishonor, the Court gives full faith and
SECTION 2. Evidence of Knowledge of Insufficient Funds. - The making, drawing and credit to the consistent findings of the MTCC, the RTC and the CA.
issuance of a check payment of which is refused by the drawee because of
insufficient funds in or credit with such bank, when presented within ninety (90) days The defense postulated that there was no demand served upon the accused, said
from the date of the check, shall be prima facie evidence of knowledge of such denial deserves scant consideration. Positive allegation of the prosecution that a
insufficiency of funds or credit unless such maker or drawer pays the holder thereof demand letter was served upon the accused prevails over the denial made by the
the amount due thereon, or makes arrangements for payment in full by the drawee of accused. Though, having denied that there was no demand letter served on April 10,
such check within five (5) banking days after receiving notice that such check has not 2000, however, the prosecution positively alleged and proved that the questioned
been paid by the drawee. demand letter was served upon the accused on April 10, 2000, that was at the time
they were attending Court hearing before Branch I of this Court. In fact, the
Mitra posits in this petition that before the signatory to a bouncing corporate check prosecution had submitted a Certification issued by the other Branch of this Court
can be held liable, all the elements of the crime of violation of BP 22 must first be certifying the fact that the accused were present during the April 10, 2010 hearing.
proven against the corporation. The corporation must first be declared to have With such straightforward and categorical testimony of the witness, the Court believes
committed the violation before the liability attaches to the signatories of the checks.9 that the prosecution has achieved what was dismally lacking in the three (3) cases of
Betty King, Victor Ting and Caras - evidence of the receipt by the accused of the
demand letter sent to her. The Court accepts the prosecution's narrative that the
The Court finds Itself unable to agree with Mitra's posture. The third paragraph of accused refused to sign the same to evidence their receipt thereof. To require the
Section 1 of BP 22 reads: "Where the check is drawn by a corporation, company or prosecution to produce the signature of the accused on said demand letter would be
entity, the person or persons who actually signed the check in behalf of such drawer imposing an undue hardship on it. As well, actual receipt acknowledgment is not and
shall be liable under this Act." This provision recognizes the reality that a corporation has never been required of the prosecution either by law or
can only act through its officers. Hence, its wording is unequivocal and mandatory - jurisprudence.12 [emphasis supplied]
that the person who actually signed the corporate check shall be held liable for a
violation of BP 22. This provision does not contain any condition, qualification or
limitation. With the notice of dishonor duly served and disregarded, there arose the presumption
that Mitra and Cabrera knew that there were insufficient funds to cover the checks
upon their presentment for payment. In fact, the account was already closed.
In the case of Llamado v. Court of Appeals, 10 the Court ruled that the accused was
liable on the unfunded corporate check which he signed as treasurer of the
corporation. He could not invoke his lack of involvement in the negotiation for the To reiterate the elements of a violation of BP 22 as contained in the above-quoted
transaction as a defense because BP 22 punishes the mere issuance of a bouncing provision, a violation exists where:
check, not the purpose for which the check was issued or in consideration of the
terms and conditions relating to its issuance. In this case, Mitra signed the LNCC 1. a person makes or draws and issues a check to apply on account or for
checks as treasurer. Following Llamado, she must then be held liable for violating BP value;
22.
2. the person who makes or draws and issues the check knows at the time
Another essential element of a violation of BP 22 is the drawer's knowledge that he of issue that he does not have sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee
has insufficient funds or credit with the drawee bank to cover his check. Because this bank for the full payment of the check upon its presentment; and
involves a state of mind that is difficult to establish, BP 22 creates the prima facie
presumption that once the check is dishonored, the drawer of the check gains 3. the check is subsequently dishonored by the drawee bank for insufficiency
knowledge of the insufficiency, unless within five banking days from receipt of the of funds or credit, or would have been dishonored for the same reason had
notice of dishonor, the drawer pays the holder of the check or makes arrangements not the drawer, without any valid reason, ordered the bank to stop
with the drawee bank for the payment of the check. The service of the notice of payment. 13
dishonor gives the drawer the opportunity to make good the check within those five
days to avert his prosecution for violating BP 22.
There is no dispute that Mitra signed the checks and that the bank dishonored the
checks because the account had been closed. Notice of dishonor was properly given,
Mitra alleges that there was no proper service on her of the notice of dishonor and, but Mitra failed to pay the checks or make arrangements for their payment within five
so, an essential element of the offense is missing. This contention raises a factual days from notice. With all the above elements duly proven, Mitra cannot escape the
issue that is not proper for review. It is not the function of the Court to re-examine the civil and criminal liabilities that BP 22 imposes for its breach.14
finding of facts of the Court of Appeals. Our review is limited to errors of law and
cannot touch errors of facts unless the petitioner shows that the trial court overlooked
WHEREFORE, the July 31, 2009 Decision and the February 11, 2010 Resolution of affirmed in toto the decision 2 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 90,
the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 31740 are hereby AFFIRMED. finding petitioner Alberto Lim (hereafter ALBERTO) guilty of twelve (12) counts of
violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22, otherwise known as the Bouncing Checks Law.
SO ORDERED.
This case stemmed from the filing on 15 July 1993 of twelve (12) informations for
violations of B.P. 22 against ALBERTO before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon
City. The informations were docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. Q-93-46489 to 93-
46500. The information in Criminal Case No. Q-93-46489 reads as follows:

The undersigned accuses Alberto Lim of a Violation of Batas Pambansa


Bilang 22, committed as follows:

That on or about the month of May 1992, Quezon City, Philippines, the said
accused ALBERTO LIM did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously make or draw and issue to ROBERT T. LU to apply on account or
for value METROBANK Check No. 206033 postdated November 6, 1992
payable to the order of CASH in the amount of P250,000.00, Philippine
Currency, said accused well knowing that at the time of issue he did not
have sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank for payment of such
check in full upon its presentment, which check when presented for payment
was subsequently dishonored by the drawee bank for Account Closed and
despite receipt of notice of such dishonor, said accused failed to pay said
complainant the amount of said check or to make arrangement for full
payment of the same within five (5) banking days after receiving said notice.

CONTRARY TO LAW.3

The other informations are similarly worded except for the number of the checks and
their amounts and dates of issue. They are hereunder itemized as follows:

Criminal Case No. Check No. Postdated Amount

Q-93-46490 206031 5 November 1992 P250,000.00

Q-93-46491 206022 5 November 1992 P300,000.00

Q-93-46492 206023 6 November 1992 P300,000.00


G.R. No. 143231 October 26, 2001
Q-93-46493 206056 6 November 1992 P15,000.00
ALBERTO LIM, petitioner,
vs.
Q-93-46494 206055 6 November 1992 P15,000.00
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.

Q-93-46495 206066 7 November 1992 P12,500.00


DAVIDE, JR., C.J.:

Q-93-46496 206064 6 November 1992 P12,500.00


In his petition for review on certiorari filed in this case petitioner seeks to set aside the
decision1 of the Court of Appeals of 24 April 2000 in CA-G.R. No. 21016 which
WHEREFORE, the accused Alberto Lim, being guilty beyond reasonable
Q-93-46497 206030 5 November 1992 P200,000.00 doubt of committing the crimes charged in the informations in these twelve
(12) cases for Violation of B.P. Blg. 22, is hereby sentenced: to suffer six (6)
months of imprisonment in each of these twelve (12) cases Criminal Cases
Q-93-46498 206061 5 November 1992 P10,000.00
Nos. Q-93-46489 to Q-93-46500, (inclusive) and to pay to the private
complainant Robert Lu the twelve (12) checks in question in these cases in
Q-93-46499 206062 5 November 1992 P12,500.00 the total amount of ONE MILLION, THREE HUNDRED NINETY TWO
THOUSAND, FIVE HUNDRED PESOS (P1,392, 500.00) with interest
Q-93-46500 206054 5 November 1992 P15,000.004 thereon at 12% per annum from the date of the filing of these cases, July 15,
1993, until the said amount is fully paid, with costs.
Upon motion of the prosecution, the twelve cases were consolidated and jointly tried.
SO ORDERED.
5
At arraignment, ALBERTO pleaded not guilty.
Not satisfied, ALBERTO filed a motion for reconsideration which was denied by the
trial court.6 On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed in toto the decision of the trial
The evidence for the prosecution shows that sometime in the month of May 1992, court, hence, the present petition raising the following arguments:
ALBERTO issued to private complainant Robert Lu (hereafter, ROBERT), for purpose
of rediscounting, sixty-four (64) Metrobank checks, including the twelve (12) checks
subject of the informations filed in these cases. The checks were signed by ALBERTO 1. The petitioner is not guilty of violating Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 as the
in the presence of ROBERT at the latters office located at the Elco Building, 202 E. subject checks lack valuable consideration.
Rodriguez Boulevard, Quezon City. Upon the respective dates of maturity, each of the
twelve (12) checks were deposited by ROBERT at the Roosevelt Branch of the United 2. In any event, the factual setting of the present case warrants leniency in
Coconut Planters Bank, which, however, were all dishonored by the drawee bank for the imposition of criminal penalty on petitioner.7
the reason "Account Closed." ROBERT then immediately informed ALBERTO of the
fact of dishonor and demanded payment of the amounts of the checks. ALBERTO
We find petition without merit.
explained to ROBERT that he encountered some financial difficulties and would settle
the account in two or three weeks time. When ALBERTO failed to make good on his
promise, ROBERT endorsed the case to his lawyer who sent a demand letter dated The conviction of ALBERTO must be sustained. The law enumerates the elements of
29 December 1992 to ALBERTO. ALBERTO received the demand letter on 9 January B.P. Blg. 22 to be (1) the making, drawing and issuance of any check to apply for
1993. For failure to settle his account within the seven days grace period provided in account or for value; (2) the knowledge of the maker, drawer, or issuer that at the time
the demand letter, ALBERTO caused the filing of the twelve informations subject of of issue he does not have sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank for the
the instant case. payment of the check in full upon its presentment; and (3) the subsequent dishonor of
the check by the drawee bank for insufficiency of funds or credit or dishonor for the
same reason had not the drawer, without any valid cause, ordered the bank to stop
For his defense, ALBERTO alleged that sometime in 1989, Sarangani Commercial,
payment.8
Inc. (hereafter Sarangani Inc.) issued to ROBERT seven checks as payment for its
obligation to the latter in the amount of P1,600,000. ALBERTO, as guarantor, affixed
his signature in all of the seven checks. When the said seven checks bounced, The issuance of the twelve checks and its subsequent dishonor were admitted by
ALBERTO issued more than three hundred checks, including the twelve checks which ALBERTO. His defense rests solely on the payment of the obligation by Sarangani,
were the subject of the present case, as replacements. He further alleged that Inc. including its interests, which was allegedly accommodated by him. ALBERTO
ROBERT had already received the total amount of P4,021,000 from the proceeds of insists that as a guarantor, he merely issued the twelve checks to replace the bad
the replacements checks, which amount is more than the total obligation of checks that were previously issued by Sarangani, Inc., and considering that the total
Sarangani, Inc. which was accommodated by him. Thus, the principal of the said amount of the checks encashed by ROBERT have exceeded the amount of the bad
obligation as well as all interest thereof, if any, have already been fully covered by checks including the interest, then the twelve checks already lack valuable
said payments. It is therefore the contention of ALBERTO that with the full payment of consideration.
the accommodated obligation, the twelve checks subject of the present case have no
valuable consideration. The issue of whether the twelve checks were issued merely to accommodate the
obligation of Sarangani, Inc. as well as the issue of payment of the said obligation are
On 10 October 1996, the trial court, rejecting the contentions of the defense, rendered factual issues which are best determined by the trial court. Well-settled is the rule that
a decision finding ALBERTO guilty of violation of B.P. Blg. 22 in each of the twelve the factual findings and conclusions of the trial court and the Court of Appeals are
cases. The dispositive part of the decision reads: entitled to great weight and respect, and will not be disturbed on appeal in the
absence of any clear showing that the trial court overlooked certain facts or
circumstances which would substantially affect the disposition of the case.9 The worthless and the fact of its worthlessness is known to appellant at the time of their
jurisdiction of this court over cases elevated from the Court of Appeals is confined to issuance, a required element under B.P. Blg. 22. This is because the mere act of
the review of errors of law ascribed to the Court of Appeals whose findings of fact are issuing a worthless check is malum prohibitum.16
conclusive, absent any showing that the findings by the respondent court are entirely
devoid of any substantiation on record.10 ALBERTOs alternative prayer for the modification of penalty by deleting the sentence
of imprisonment and, in lieu thereof, that a fine in an increased amount be imposed
In the instant case, we see no reason to disturb the factual findings of the trial court must likewise be denied.
which has been affirmed in toto by the Court of Appeals. ALBERTOs allegation that
the checks were issued to replace or accommodate the bad checks of Sarangani, Inc. His reliance in Administrative Circular No. 12-2000 is misplaced. As clarified in
is not worthy of belief. The seven(7) checks issued by Sarangani, Inc. were all dated Administrative Circular No. 13-2001:
and dishonored in September 1989. The twelve (12) checks including the other fifty-
two (52) checks were all dated November 1992, hence the same cannot be a
replacement of the bad checks which were dishonored as far back as three years The clear tenor and intention of Administrative Circular No. 12-2000 is not to
ago. remove imprisonment as an alternative penalty, but to lay down a rule of
preference in the application of the penalties provided for in B.P. Blg. 22.
In addition, even the corresponding amount of the checks negates said conclusion.
The total amount of the seven (7) checks, representing the obligations of Sarangani, The pursuit of this purpose clearly does not foreclose the possibility of
Inc., is only P1,600,000,11 while the sum total of the twelve (12) checks and the imprisonment for violators of B.P. Blg. 22. Neither does it defeat the
remaining fifty-two checks is P7,455,000.12 If we add the P7,455,000 to the value of legislative intent behind the law.
the more than three hundred checks, which ALBERTO alleged to have been issued
also in payment of the said obligation then the total amount of all the replacement Thus, Administrative Circular No. 12-2000 establishes a rule of preference in
checks will be P111,476,000. the application of the penal provisions of B.P. Blg. 22 such that where the
circumstances of both the offense and the offender clearly indicate good
Moreover, records show that the twelve(12) checks and the other fifty-two (52) checks faith or a clear mistake of fact without taint of negligence, the imposition of a
were issued sometime May 1992 and all postdated 1992,13 whereas the 330 checks fine alone should be considered as the more appropriate penalty. Needless
which were submitted to prove the fact of payment were all encashed before the to say, the determination of whether the circumstances warrant the
issuance of the said checks. Thus, if full payment was made as early as July 22, imposition of a fine alone rests solely upon the Judge. Should the Judge
1991, the date of the last check of the 330 checks, why would ALBERTO issue the decide that imprisonment is the more appropriate penalty, Administrative
twelve (12) checks and the fifty-two (52) checks, if not for a consideration other than Circular No. 12-2000 ought not be deemed a hindrance.
to answer for an obligation which was already paid. Hence, the 330 checks submitted
by the defense did not prove that the twelve checks were not issued for valuable In this case, we agree with the Court of Appeals in upholding the trial courts
consideration. On the contrary, it supported the version of the prosecution that the imposition of imprisonment. ALBERTO is not a first time offender. He has previously
checks were issued for rediscounting and not as replacements for the bad checks of been convicted of 50 counts of violation of B.P. Blg. 22 in Criminal Cases Nos. Q-93-
Sarangani, Inc., as claimed by ALBERTO. 44583 to Q-93-44632, and was placed on probation.17

Further, if indeed it were true as claimed by ALBERTO that the indebtedness covered However, despite his prior conviction, he claims that the same shall not be taken
by the checks sued upon has been paid, the petitioner should have redeemed or against him. He argues that:
taken the checks back in the ordinary course of business. But the same checks
remained in the possession of the complainant who asked for the satisfaction of the It bears emphasis that the sixty-four postdated checks which include the
obligations involved when said checks became due, without the petitioner heeding the subject checks in the subject decision, were issued by the petitioner to Mr.
demand for him to redeem his checks which bounced.14 Lu all at the same time to cover the unpaid obligation of Sarangani.
Undeniably, should only one single complaint was filed for all the sixty-four
Hence, without evidentiary support, ALBERTOs claim that the twelve checks lacks checks which bounced, then all of the cases should have been brought up
valuable consideration must fail. Upon issuance of the said checks, it is presumed, in and heard in only one branch of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City.
the absence of evidence to the contrary, that the same was issued for valuable But, as fate have it, two criminal complaints were separately filed by Mr. Lu
consideration. B.P. Blg. 22 punishes the issuance of a bouncing check. It is also which complaints were eventually heard buy two branches of the said court,
worthy to note that it is not the non-payment of an obligation which the law punishes, to wit: Branch 90 and Branch 103.
but the act of making and issuing a check that is dishonored upon presentment for
payment.15 The purpose for which it was issued and the terms and conditions relating With the aforesaid scenario, petitioner had been put into a bind. Thusly,
to its issuance are immaterial. What is primordial is that such issued checks were when the joint decision [Annex "G"] was promulgated by RTC-Branch 103,
petitioner seasonably applied for probation, which application was granted
by the court, after the latter has determined to its satisfaction the
qualification of petitioner. Nonetheless, petitioners worries are far from over
because when the decision of RTC-Branch 90 was subsequently
promulgated, petitioner was left with no recourse but to appeal. Needless to
state, petitioner can no longer apply for probation because of his earlier
availment in the first complaint of Mr. Lu. This, notwithstanding the fact that
all the sixty-four checks were issued by the petitioner to Mr. Lu at the same
time and meant to cover an obligation of like nature. Whereas, had there
been only one complaint filed for all the said checks, there should have been G.R. No. 129764 March 12, 2002
only one judgment of conviction and petitioner could have had fully availed
of the benefits of the Probation Law [PD 968 as amended].It is, therefore
pathetic to even contemplate on the prospect of petitioner languishing in jail GEOFFREY F. GRIFFITH, petitioner,
only because of the fact that the sixty-four bum checks he issued were vs.
divided into two criminal complaints.18 HON. COURT OF APPEALS, RTC JUDGE EDWIN A. VILLASOR, MTC JUDGE
MANUEL D.L. VILLAMAYOR and PHELPS DODGE PHILS., INC., respondents.
The foregoing arguments must be rejected. His allegation that the checks subject of
that previous conviction were part of the sixty-four (64) checks which he issued at the QUISUMBING, J.:
same time to cover one and the same obligation, is not true. A reading of the decision
in Criminal Cases Nos. Q93-44583 to Q93-44632 will show that there are two Assailed in this petition is the decision 1 dated March 14, 1997 of the Court of Appeals
accused namely, ALBERTO and William Tan,19 since the checks subject of those in CA-G.R. SP No. 19621, affirming the Regional Trial Court's decision2 finding
cases were issued and signed by both accused. Also, the amount of each of the fifty petitioner Geoffrey F. Griffith guilty on two counts for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg.
(50) checks ranges from P122,595.77 to P546,114.00 while the sixty-four (64) checks 22 (the Bouncing Checks Law), and sentencing him to suffer imprisonment for a
including the twelve checks were issued and signed solely by ALBERTO, the amount period of six months on each count, to be served consecutively. Also assailed is the
of which ranges from P10,000 to P300,000. Hence the fifty (50) checks subject of his Court of Appeals' resolution3 dated July 8, 1997 denying petitioner's motion for
prior conviction and the twelve (12) checks subject of the present case are different reconsideration.
from each other.
The facts are as follows:
His act of issuing the fifty (50) and the sixty-four (64) bouncing checks is a serious
offense. To impose only fine would be to depreciate the seriousness of his
In 1985, Phelps Dodge Philippines, Inc. leased its lot and factory building to Lincoln
malefactions. The importance of arresting the proliferation of bouncing checks can not
Gerard, Inc. for a term of two years at a monthly rental of P75,000. When Lincoln
be overemphasized.
Gerard, Inc. incurred rental arrearages, Geoffrey F. Griffith, in his capacity as
president of Lincoln Gerard, Inc., issued the following checks:
Besides, it is of no moment even if the fifty (50) checks were part of the sixty-four (64)
checks. Each act of drawing and issuing a bouncing check constitutes a violation of
Far East Bank and Trust Co. Check No. 06B-C-075065, dated April 15, 1986
B.P. Blg. 22. The rule that there is only one offense when the offender is moved by
for P100,000.00, payable to Phelps Dodge Phils. Inc.; and
one criminal intent or purpose does not apply because in a statutory offense
or malum prohibitum malice or criminal intent is immaterial.20 The mischief of
circulating unfunded checks is injurious not only to the payee or holder of such Far East Bank and Trust Co. Check No. 06B-C-075066, dated May 1, 1986
checks but to society in general, and the business community, in particular. The for P115,442.65, payable to Phelps Dodge Phils. Inc.4
nefarious practice "can very well pollute the channels of trade and commerce, injure
the banking system and eventually hurt the welfare of society and the public The voucher for these checks contained the following instruction:
interest."21
These checks are not to be presented without prior approval from this
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. The decision of the Court of Appeals Corporation to be given not later than May 30, 1986.
upholding the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 90, Quezon, City in
Criminal Cases Nos. Q-93-46489 to 46500 is hereby AFFIRMED.
Also written on the face of the voucher was the following note:

SO ORDERED.
However, if written approval of Lincoln Gerard, Inc. is not given before May On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the RTC decision, and this became final and
30, 1986, Phelps Dodge, Phils. shall present the cheques for payment. This executory.16
is final and irrevocable.5
On August 25, 1994, the criminal cases against Griffith pending before the RTC were
On May 29, 1986, Griffith wrote Phelps Dodge not to present the said checks for remanded to the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC), in view of Republic Act No. 7691
payment on May 30, 1986 because they could not be funded due to a four-week labor that expanded the jurisdiction of the MeTC.
strike that had earlier paralyzed the business operations of Lincoln Gerard.6
On July 25, 1995, the MeTC, in Criminal Cases Nos. 41678 and 41679, found Griffith
Previously, in a letter dated May 20, 1986, Phelps Dodge, through its treasurer guilty on both counts for violation of B.P. 22, 17 and sentenced him to suffer
Ricardo R. Manarang, advised Lincoln Gerard that it was transferring the contents of imprisonment for six months on each count, to be served consecutively. Thus:
the Lincoln Gerard warehouse in the leased premises since a new tenant was moving
in. Phelps Dodge told Lincoln Gerard that its properties would be placed "in our WHEREFORE, premises considered, this court finds the accused
compound and under our custody."7 GEOFFREY F. GRIFFITH, GUILTY OF VIOLATION of Section 1 of Batas
Pambansa Blg. 22, otherwise known as the Bouncing Checks Law on two
On June 2, 1986,8 when no further communication was received from Lincoln Gerard, counts.
Phelps Dodge presented the two checks for payment but these were dishonored by
the bank for having been drawn against insufficient funds. Three days later, Phelps The accused is therefore hereby sentence (sic) to suffer imprisonment for a
Dodge sent a demand letter to Lincoln Gerard, apprising Griffith of the dishonor of the period of SIX (6) MONTHS in Criminal Case No. 41678 and another SIX (6)
checks and asking him to fund them within the time prescribed by law. 9 Lincoln MONTHS in Criminal Case No. 41679, both of which shall be served
Gerard still failed to fund the checks but Griffith sent a letter to Phelps Dodge, consecutively.
explaining Lincoln's inability to fund said checks due to the strike. 10 Subsequently, on
June 19, 1986, Phelps Dodge notified Lincoln Gerard that its properties would be
foreclosed. Phelps Dodge went ahead with the foreclosure and auction sale on June Considering that the civil aspect of these cases has already been decided by
20, 1986,11 despite Lincoln Gerard's protest.12 the Regional Trial Court Branch 69, Pasig, regardless of its finality, of which
this court has no record, this Court shall not resolve the same because they
are either "Res Judicata" or "Pendente Litis".
On May 10, 1988, two informations for violation of B.P. 22 docketed as Criminal
Cases Nos. 73260 and 73261 were filed against petitioner before the Regional Trial
Court. The motion for reconsideration filed by Griffith was dismissed, and so were his SO ORDERED.18
petition for review filed before the Department of Justice and later on his motion to
quash filed before the RTC. Griffith then filed a petition for certiorari before the Court On appeal, the RTC affirmed in toto the lower court's decision.
of Appeals that was likewise denied.1wphi1.nt
Petitioner then appealed his conviction to the Court of Appeals. In a consolidated
Meanwhile, on November 6, 1987, Lincoln Gerard lodged a complaint for damages decision dated March 14, 1997, the appellate court ruled:
docketed as Civil Case No. 55276 before the Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Branch
69, against Phelps Dodge and the notary public who conducted the auction sale. 13 On WHEREFORE, absent any prima facie merit in it, the Petition for Review
July 19, 1991, the trial court ruled that the foreclosure and auction sale were invalid, under consideration is hereby DENIED DUE COURSE. Costs against
but applied the proceeds thereof to Lincoln Gerard's arrearages. It also ordered petitioner.
Phelps Dodge to return to Lincoln Gerard the P1,072,586.88 as excess.14 The court
stated:
SO ORDERED.19
The evidence shows that defendant corporation had already received the
amount of P254,600 as a result of the invalid auction sale. The latter amount Petitioner moved for a reconsideration of said decision but this was denied by the
should be applied to the rental in arrears owed by the plaintiff corporation to appellate court in a resolution dated July 8, 1997. 20 Hence, this petition seeking
the defendant corporation (P301,953.12). Thus, the plaintiff corporation still reversal of the CA decision and resolution on the criminal cases, anchored on the
owes the defendant corporation the amount of P47,953.12 as rental arrears. following grounds:
In order to get the true and real damages that defendant corporation should
pay the plaintiff corporation, the balance of the rental arrears should be I. THE COURT OF APPEALS' DECISION DATED 14 MARCH 1997 AND ITS
deducted from the amount of P1,120,540.00, the total value of the items RESOLUTION DATED 8 JULY 1997 ARE CONTRARY TO THE RULING IN
belonging to the plaintiff corporation and sold by the defendant corporation MAGNO V. COURT OF APPEALS, WHERE THIS HONORABLE COURT
at a public auction. The net result is P1,072,586.88.15
LAID DOWN THE DOCTRINE THAT A CONVICTION UNDER B.P. 22 made beyond the five-day period, counted from notice of dishonor, provided by the
CANNOT BE BASED ON AN INVERSE APPLICATION OF THE ELEMENT law and thus did not extinguish petitioner's criminal liability.
OF KNOWLEDGE.
For the State, the Solicitor General contends that Lincoln Gerard assured Phelps
II. THE COURT OF APPEALS' DECISION DATED 14 MARCH 1997 AND Dodge, through the note on the voucher attached to the checks, that said checks
ITS RESOLUTON DATED 8 JULY 1997 RESULT IN AN would be covered with sufficient funds by May 30, 1996, which assurance was "final
UNCONSTITUTIONAL APPLICATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF B.P. 22. and irrevocable".22 The OSG also argues that B.P. 22 does not distinguish between a
check that is postdated and one that is not, for as long as the drawer issued the
III. THE COURT OF APPEALS' DECISION DATED 14 MARCH 1997 AND checks with knowledge of his insufficient funds and the check is dishonored upon
ITS RESOLUTION DATED 8 JULY 1997 STATING THAT PAYMENT presentment.
THROUGH NOTARIAL FORECLOSURE BEFORE THE FILING OF THE
CRIMINAL INFORMATIONS UNDER B.P. 22 DOES NOT ABATE CRIMINAL There is no unconstitutional punishment for failure to pay a debt in this case, since
LIABILITY, ARE ERRONEOUS AND RESULT IN THE INIQUITOUS according to the OSG, what B.P. 22 penalizes is the act of making and issuing a
INTERPRETATION OF THE LAW. worthless check that is dishonored upon presentation for payment, not the failure to
pay a debt.23
IV. THE COURT OF APPEALS' DECISION DATED 14 MARCH 1997 AND
ITS RESOLUTION DATED 8 JULY 1997 ARE INCONSISTENT WITH ITS The OSG asserts that the supposed payment that resulted from Phelps Dodge's
OWN FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS IN A RELATED CASE (CA-G.R. NO. notarial foreclosure of Lincoln Gerard's properties could not bar prosecution under
20980) INVOLVING THE SAME PETITIONER AND RESPONDENT AND B.P. 22, since damage or prejudice to the payee is immaterial. Moreover, said
THE SAME TRANSACTION SUBJECT OF THIS CASE. payment was made only after the violation of the law had already been committed. It
was made beyond the five-day period, from notice of dishonor of the checks, provided
V. THE COURT OF APPEALS' DECISION DATED 14 MARCH 1997 AND under B.P. 22.
ITS RESOLUTION DATED 8 JULY 1997 WHICH RELIED ON THE RULING
IN THE CASE OF LIM V. COURT OF APPEALS ON VENUE TO JUSTIFY The principal issue in this case is whether petitioner Geoffrey F. Griffith, president of
ITS FINDING THAT PETITIONER HAS COMMITTED TWO COUNTS OF Lincoln Gerard, Inc., has been erroneously convicted and sentenced for violation of
VIOLATION OF B.P. 22, ARE CONTRAY TO LAW AND the Bouncing Checks Law (Batas Pambansa Blg. 22). His conviction on two counts
JURISPRUDENCE.21 and sentence of six months imprisonment for each count by the respondent MTC
Judge Manuel Villamayor was upheld by respondent RTC Judge Edwin Villasor and
Petitioner points out that he communicated to Phelps Dodge through a note on the affirmed by the respondent Court of Appeals. But private respondent appears to have
voucher attached to the checks, the fact that said checks were unfunded at the time collected more than the value of the two checks in question before the filing in the trial
of their issuance. Petitioner contends that this good faith on his part negates any court of the case for violation of B.P. 22. Hence, petitioner insists he has been
intent to put worthless checks in circulation, which is what B.P. 22 seeks to penalize. wrongfully convicted and sentenced. To resolve this issue, we must determine
Moreover, as regards the second check that was postdated, petitioner contends that whether the alleged payment of the amount of the checks two years prior to the filing
there could not be any violation of B.P. 22 with said check since the element of of the information for violation of B.P. 22 justifies his acquittal.
knowledge of insufficiency of funds is absent. Petitioner could not have known at the
time of its issuance that the postdated check would be dishonored when presented Whether there is an unconstitutional application of the provisions of B.P. 22 in this
for payment later on. case, however, does not appear to us an appropriate issue for consideration now. A
purported constitutional issue raised by petitioner may only be resolved if essential to
Petitioner argues that his conviction in this case would be violative of the the decision of a case and controversy. But here we find that this case can be
constitutional proscription against imprisonment for failure to pay a debt, since resolved on other grounds. Well to remember, courts do not pass upon constitutional
petitioner would be punished not for knowingly issuing an unfunded check but for questions that are not the very lis mota of a case.24
failing to pay an obligation when it fell due.
In the present case, the checks were conditionally issued for arrearages on rental
Petitioner also asserts that the payment made by Lincoln Gerard through the payments incurred by Lincoln Gerard, Inc. The checks were signed by petitioner, the
proceeds of the notarial foreclosure and auction sale extinguished his criminal liability. president of Lincoln Gerard. It was a condition written on the voucher for each check
that the check was not to be presented for payment without clearance from Lincoln
Gerard, to be given at a specific date. However, Lincoln Gerard was unable to give
On the other hand, private respondent contends that all the elements that comprise such clearance owing to a labor strike that paralyzed its business and resulted to the
violation of B.P. 22 are present in this case. Moreover, the payment in this case was company's inability to fund its checks. Still, Phelps Dodge deposited the checks, per a
note on the voucher attached thereto that if written approval was not received from
Lincoln Gerard before May 30, 1986, the checks would be presented for payment. Milagros Caguioa, CA-G.R. SP No. 20980, in connection with the petitioner's motion
"This is final and irrevocable", according to the note that was written actually by an to quash the charges herein before they were tried on the merits.32
officer of Phelps Dodge, not by petitioner. The checks were dishonored and Phelps
Dodge filed criminal cases for violation of B.P. 22 against petitioner. But this filing took Said Justice C. Francisco with the concurrence of Justices Reynato S. Puno and
place only after Phelps Dodge had collected the amount of the checks, with more Asaali S. Isnani:
than one million pesos to spare, through notarial foreclosure and auction sale of
Lincoln Gerard's properties earlier impounded by Phelps Dodge.
"We are persuaded that the defense has good and solid defenses against
both charges in Criminal Cases Nos. 73260-61. We can even say that the
In our view, considering the circumstances of the case, the instant petition is decision rendered in Branch 69 in Civil Case No. 55276, well-written as it is,
meritorious. had put up a formidable obstacle to any conviction in the criminal cases with
the findings therein made that the sale by public auction of the properties of
The Bouncing Checks Law "was devised to safeguard the interest of the banking Lincoln was illegal and had no justification under the facts; that also the
system and the legitimate public checking account user." 25 It was not designed to proceeds realized in the said sale should be deducted from the account of
favor or encourage those who seek to enrich themselves through manipulation and Lincoln with Phelps, so that only P47,953.12 may only be the rentals in
circumvention of the purpose of the law.26 Noteworthy, in Administrative Circular No. arrears which Lincoln should pay, computed at P301,953.12
12-2000, this Court has expressed a policy preference for fine as penalty in cases of less P254,600.00; that out of what had happened in the case as the trial
B.P. 22 violations rather than imprisonment to "best serve the ends of criminal court had resolved in its decision, Phelps is duty bound to pay Lincoln in
justice." damages P1,072,586.88 from which had been deducted the amount
of P47,953.12 representing the balance of the rental in arrearages; and that
Moreover, while the philosophy underlying our penal system leans toward the consequently, there is absolutely no consideration remaining in support of
classical school that imposes penalties for retribution, 27 such retribution should be the two (2) subject checks."33
aimed at "actual and potential wrongdoers". 28 Note that in the two criminal cases filed
by Phelps Dodge against petitioner, the checks issued were corporate checks that Petitioner's efforts to quash in the Court of Appeals the charges against him was
Lincoln Gerard allegedly failed to fund for a valid reason duly communicated to the frustrated on procedural grounds because, according to Justice Francisco, appeal
payee. Further, it bears repeating that Phelps Dodge, through a notarial foreclosure and not certiorari was the proper remedy.34 In a petition for certiorari, only issues of
and auction that were later on judicially declared invalid, sold Lincoln Gerard's jurisdiction including grave abuse of discretion are considered, but an appeal in a
property for cash amounting to P1,120,54029 to satisfy Phelps Dodge claim for unpaid criminal case opens the entire case for review.
rentals. Said property was already in Phelps Dodge's custody earlier, purportedly
because a new tenant was moving into the leased premises. The obligation of Lincoln While we agree with the private respondent that the gravamen of violation of B.P. 22
Gerard to Phelps Dodge for said rentals was only P301,953.12.30 Thus, by resorting is the issuance of worthless checks that are dishonored upon their presentment for
to the remedy of foreclosure and auction sale, Phelps Dodge was able to collect the payment, we should not apply penal laws mechanically.35We must find if the
face value of the two checks, totalling P215,442.65. In fact, it impounded items owned application of the law is consistent with the purpose of and reason for the
by Lincoln Gerard valued far in excess of the debt or the checks. This was the law. Ratione cessat lex, et cessat lex. (When the reason for the law ceases, the law
situation when, almost two years after the auction sale, petitioner was charged with ceases.) It is not the letter alone but the spirit of the law also that gives it life. This is
two counts of violation of B.P. 22. By that time, the civil obligation of Lincoln Gerard, especially so in this case where a debtor's criminalization would not serve the ends of
Inc. to Phelps Dodge Phils. Inc. was no longer subsisting, though respondent Court of justice but in fact subvert it. The creditor having collected already more than a
Appeals calls the payment thereof as involuntary. 31 That the money value of the two sufficient amount to cover the value of the checks for payment of rentals, via auction
checks signed by petitioner was already collected, however, could not be ignored in sale, we find that holding the debtor's president to answer for a criminal offense under
appreciating the antecedents of the two criminal charges against petitioner. Because B.P. 22 two years after said collection, is no longer tenable nor justified by law or
of the invalid foreclosure and sale, Phelps Dodge was ordered to pay or equitable considerations.
return P1,072,586.88 to Lincoln Gerard, per decision of the Regional Trial Court of
Pasig, Branch 69, which became final after it was affirmed by the appellate court. We
cannot, under these circumstances, see how petitioner's conviction and sentence In sum, considering that the money value of the two checks issued by petitioner has
could be upheld without running afoul of basic principles of fairness and justice. For already been effectively paid two years before the informations against him were filed,
Phelps Dodge has, in our view, already exacted its proverbial pound of flesh through we find merit in this petition. We hold that petitioner herein could not be validly and
foreclosure and auction sale as its chosen remedy. justly convicted or sentenced for violation of B.P. 22. Whether the number of checks
issued determines the number of violations of B.P. 22, or whether there should be a
distinction between postdated and other kinds of checks need no longer detain us for
That is why we find quite instructive the reasoning of the Court of Appeals earlier being immaterial now to the determination of the issue of guilt or innocence of
rendered in deciding the petition for Certiorari and Injunction, Griffith v. Judge petitioner.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The decision of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 19621 dated March 14, 1997, and its resolution dated July 8,
1997, are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Petitioner Geoffrey F. Griffith
is ACQUITTED of the charges of violation of B.P. 22 in Criminal Cases Nos. 41678
and 41679.

Costs de officio.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 96132 June 26, 1992

ORIEL MAGNO, petitioner,


vs.
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and PEOPLE OF THE
PHILIPPINES, respondents.

PARAS, J.:

This is an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court, from the
decision* of the respondent Court of Appeals which affirmed in toto the decision of the
Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 104 finding the accused petitioner, guilty
of violations of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22, in Criminal Cases Q-35693 to 35696 before
they were elevated on appeal to the respondent appellate Court under CA-G.R. CR
No. 04889.

The antecedent facts and circumstances of the four (4) counts of the offense charged,
have been clearly illustrated, in the Comment of the Office of the Solicitor General as
official counsel for the public respondent, thus:

Petitioner was in the process of putting up a car repair shop sometime in April 1983,
but a did not have complete equipment that could make his venture workable. He also
had another problem, and that while he was going into this entrepreneurship, he
lacked funds with which to purchase the necessary equipment to make such business
operational. Thus, petitioner, representing Ultra Sources International Corporation,
approached Corazon Teng, (private complainant) Vice President of Mancor Industries
(hereinafter referred to as Mancor) for his needed car repair service equipment of
which Mancor was a distributor, (Rollo, pp. 40-41)

Having been approached by petitioner on his predicament, who fully bared that he
had no sufficient funds to buy the equipment needed, the former (Corazon Teng)
referred Magno to LS Finance and Management Corporation (LB Finance for brevity) After joint trial before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 104, the
advising its Vice-President, Joey Gomez, that Mancor was willing and able to supply accused-petitioner was convicted for violations of BP Blg. 22 on the four (4) cases, as
the pieces of equipment needed if LS Finance could accommodate petitioner and follows:
provide him credit facilities. (Ibid., P. 41)
. . . finding the accused-appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
The arrangement went through on condition that petitioner has to put up a warranty the offense of violations of B.P. Blg. 22 and sentencing the accused
deposit equivalent to thirty per centum (30%) of the total value of the pieces of to imprisonment for one year in each Criminal Case Nos. Q-35693,
equipment to be purchased, amounting to P29,790.00. Since petitioner could not Q-35695 and Q-35696 and to pay to complainant the respective
come up with such amount, he requested Joey Gomez on a personal level to look for amounts reflected in subject checks. (Ibid., pp. 25, 27)
a third party who could lend him the equivalent amount of the warranty deposit,
however, unknown to petitioner, it was Corazon Teng who advanced the deposit in Reviewing the above and the affirmation of the above-stated decision of the court a
question, on condition that the same would be paid as a short term loan at 3% quo, this Court is intrigued about the outcome of the checks subject of the cases
interest (Ibid., P. 41) which were intended by the parties, the petitioner on the one hand and the private
complainant on the other, to cover the "warranty deposit" equivalent to the 30%
The specific provision in the Leasing Agreement, reads: requirement of the financing company. Corazon Teng is one of the officers of Mancor,
the supplier of the equipment subject of the Leasing Agreement subject of the high
1.1. WARRANTY DEPOSIT Before or upon delivery of each item financing scheme undertaken by the petitioner as lessee of the repair service
of Equipment, the Lessee shall deposit with the Lessor such sum or equipment, which was arranged at the instance of Mrs. Teng from the very beginning
sums specified in Schedule A to serve as security for the faithful of the transaction.
performance of its obligations.
By the nature of the "warranty deposit" amounting to P29,790.00 corresponding to
This deposit shall be refunded to the Lessee upon the satisfactory 30% of the "purchase/lease" value of the equipments subject of the transaction, it is
completion of the entire period of Lease, subject to the conditions of obvious that the "cash out" made by Mrs. Teng was not used by petitioner who was
clause 1.12 of this Article. (Ibid., p. 17) just paying rentals for the equipment. It would have been different if petitioner opted
to purchase the pieces of equipment on or about the termination of the lease-
purchase agreement in which case he had to pay the additional amount of the
As part of the arrangement, petitioner and LS Finance entered into a leasing warranty deposit which should have formed part of the purchase price. As the
agreement whereby LS Finance would lease the garage equipments and petitioner transaction did not ripen into a purchase, but remained a lease with rentals being paid
would pay the corresponding rent with the option to buy the same. After the for the loaned equipment, which were pulled out by the Lessor (Mancor) when the
documentation was completed, the equipment were delivered to petitioner who in turn petitioner failed to continue paying possibly due to economic constraints or business
issued a postdated check and gave it to Joey Gomez who, unknown to the petitioner, failure, then it is lawful and just that the warranty deposit should not be charged
delivered the same to Corazon Teng. When the check matured, Petitioner requested against the petitioner.
through Joey Gomez not to deposit the check as he (Magno) was no longer banking
with Pacific Bank.
To charge the petitioner for the refund of a "warranty deposit" which he did not
withdraw as it was not his own account, it having remained with LS Finance, is to
To replace the first check issued, petitioner issued another set of six (6) postdated even make him pay an unjust "debt", to say the least, since petitioner did not receive
checks. Two (2) checks dated July 29, 1983 were deposited and cleared while the the amount in question. All the while, said amount was in the safekeeping of the
four (4) others, which were the subject of the four counts of the aforestated charges financing company, which is managed, supervised and operated by the corporation
subject of the petition, were held momentarily by Corazon Teng, on the request of officials and employees of LS Finance. Petitioner did not even know that the checks
Magno as they were not covered with sufficient funds. These checks were a) Piso he issued were turned over by Joey Gomez to Mrs. Teng, whose operation was kept
Bank Check Nos. 006858, dated August 15, 1983, 006859 dated August 28, 1983 from his knowledge on her instruction. This fact alone evoke suspicion that the
and 006860 dated September 15, 1983, all in the amount of P5,038.43 and No. transaction is irregular and immoral per se, hence, she specifically requested Gomez
006861 dated September 28, 1983, in the amount of P10,076.87. (Ibid., pp. 42 & 43). not to divulge the source of the "warranty deposit".

Subsequently, petitioner could not pay LS Finance the monthly rentals, thus it pulled It is intriguing to realize that Mrs. Teng did not want the petitioner to know that it was
out the garage equipments. It was then on this occasion that petitioner became aware she who "accommodated" petitioner's request for Joey Gomez, to source out the
that Corazon Teng was the one who advanced the warranty deposit. Petitioner with needed funds for the "warranty deposit". Thus it unfolds the kind of transaction that is
his wife went to see Corazon Teng and promised to pay the latter but the payment shrouded with mystery, gimmickry and doubtful legality. It is in simple language, a
never came and when the four (4) checks were deposited they were returned for the scheme whereby Mrs. Teng as the supplier of the equipment in the name of her
reason "account closed." (Ibid., p. 43) corporation, Mancor, would be able to "sell or lease" its goods as in this case, and at
the same time, privately financing those who desperately need petty accommodations Thus, it behooves upon a court of law that in applying the punishment imposed upon
as this one. This modus operandi has in so many instances victimized unsuspecting the accused, the objective of retribution of a wronged society, should be directed
businessmen, who likewise need protection from the law, by availing of the against the "actual and potential wrongdoers." In the instant case, there is no doubt
deceptively called "warranty deposit" not realizing that they also fall prey to leasing that petitioner's four (4) checks were used to collateralize an accommodation, and not
equipment under the guise of a lease-purchase agreement when it is a scheme to cover the receipt of an actual "account or credit for value" as this was absent, and
designed to skim off business clients. therefore petitioner should not be punished for mere issuance of the checks in
question. Following the aforecited theory, in petitioner's stead the "potential
This maneuvering has serious implications especially with respect to the threat of the wrongdoer", whose operation could be a menace to society, should not be glorified by
penal sanction of the law in issue, as in this case. And, with a willing court system to convicting the petitioner.
apply the full harshness of the special law in question, using the "mala prohibitia"
doctrine, the noble objective of the law is tainted with materialism and opportunism in While in case of doubt, the case should have been resolved in favor of the accused,
the highest, degree. however, by the open admission of the appellate court below, oven when the ultimate
beneficiary of the "warranty deposit" is of doubtful certainty, the accused was
This angle is bolstered by the fact that since the petitioner or lessee referred to above convicted, as shown below:
in the lease agreement knew that the amount of P29,790.00 subject of the cases,
were mere accommodation-arrangements with somebody thru Joey Gomez, Nor do We see any merit in appellant's claim that the obligation of
petitioner did not even attempt to secure the refund of said amount from LS Finance, the accused to complainant had been extinguished by the
notwithstanding the agreement provision to the contrary. To argue that after the termination of the leasing agreement by the terms of which the
termination of the lease agreement, the warranty deposit should be refundable in full warranty deposit advanced by complainant was refundable to the
to Mrs. Teng by petitioner when he did not cash out the "warranty deposit" for his accused as lessee and that as the lessor L.S. Finance neither
official or personal use, is to stretch the nicety of the alleged law (B.P. No, 22) made any liquidation of said amount nor returned the same to the
violated. accused, it may he assumed that the amount was already returned
to the complainant. For these allegations, even if true, do not
For all intents and purposes, the law was devised to safeguard the interest of the change the fact, admitted by appellant and established by the
banking system and the legitimate public checking account user. It did not intend to evidence, that the four checks were originally issued on account or
shelter or favor nor encourage users of the system to enrich themselves through for value. And as We have already observed, in order that there
manipulations and circumvention of the noble purpose and objective of the law. Least may be a conviction under the from paragraph of Section 2 of B.P.
should it be used also as a means of jeopardizing honest-to-goodness transactions Blg 22 with respect to the element of said offense that the check
with some color of "get-rich" scheme to the prejudice of well-meaning businessmen should have been made and issued on account or for value it is
who are the pillars of society. sufficient, all the other elements of the offense being present, that
the check must have been drawn and issued in payment of an
obligation.
Under the utilitarian theory, the "protective theory" in criminal law, "affirms that the
primary function of punishment is the protective (sic) of society against actual and
potential wrongdoers." It is not clear whether petitioner could be considered as having Moreover, even granting, arguendo, that the extinguishment, after
actually committed the wrong sought to be punished in the offense charged, but on the issuance of the checks, of the obligation in consideration of
the other hand, it can be safely said that the actuations of Mrs. Carolina Teng amount which the checks were issued, would have resulted in placing the
to that of potential wrongdoers whose operations should also be clipped at some case at bar beyond the purview of the prohibition in Section 1 of BP
point in time in order that the unwary public will not be failing prey to such a vicious Blg. 22, there is no satisfactory proof that there was such an
transaction (Aquino, The Revised Penal Code, 1987 Edition, Vol. I, P. 11) extinguishment in the present case. Appellee aptly points out that
appellant had not adduced any direct evidence to prove that the
amount advanced by the complainant to cover the warranty deposit
Corollary to the above view, is the application of the theory that "criminal law is must already have been returned to her. (Rollo, p. 30)
founded upon that moral disapprobation . . . of actions which are immoral, i.e., which
are detrimental (or dangerous) to those conditions upon which depend the existence
and progress of human society. This disappropriation is inevitable to the extent that It is indubitable that the respondent Court of Appeals even disregarded the cardinal
morality is generally founded and built upon a certain concurrence in the moral rule that the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable
opinions of all. . . . That which we call punishment is only an external means of doubt. On the contrary, the same court even expected the petitioner-appellant to
emphasizing moral disapprobation the method of punishment is in reality the amount adduce evidence to show that he was not guilty of the crime charged. But how can be
of punishment," (Ibid., P. 11, citing People v. Roldan Zaballero, CA 54 O.G. 6904, produce documents showing that the warranty deposit has already been taken back
Note also Justice Pablo's view in People v. Piosca and Peremne, 86 Phil. 31). by Mrs. Teng when she is an officer of Mancor which has interest in the transaction,
besides being personally interested in the profit of her side-line. Thus, even if she
may have gotten back the value of the accommodation, she would still pursue The act of placing money in the custody of a bank or banker, for
collecting from the petitioner since she had in her possession the checks that safety or convenience, to be withdrawn at the will of the depositor
"bounced". or under rules and regulations agreed on. Also, the money so
deposited, or the credit which the depositor receives for it. Deposit,
That the court a quo merely relied on the law, without looking into the real nature of according to its commonly accepted and generally understood
the warranty deposit is evident from the following pronouncement: among bankers and by the public, includes not only deposits
payable on demand and for which certificates, whether interest-
bearing or not, may be issued, payable on demand, or on certain
And the trail court concluded that there is no question that the notice or at a fixed future time. (Ibid., pp. 394-395)
accused violated BP Blg. 22, which is a special statutory law,
violations of which are mala prohibita. The court relied on the rule
that in cases of mala prohibita, the only inquiry is whether or not the Furthermore, the element of "knowing at the time of issue that he does not have
law had been violated, proof of criminal intent not being necessary sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank for the payment of such check in full
for the conviction of the accused, the acts being prohibited for upon its presentment, which check is subsequently dishonored by the drawee bank
reasons of public policy and the defenses of good faith and for insufficiency of funds or credit or would have been dishonored for the same
absence of criminal intent being unavailing in prosecutions for said reason . . . is inversely applied in this case. From the very beginning, petitioner never
offenses." (Ibid., p. 26) hid the fact that he did not have the funds with which to put up the warranty deposit
and as a matter of fact, he openly intimated this to the vital conduit of the transaction,
Joey Gomez, to whom petitioner was introduced by Mrs. Teng. It would have been
The crux of the matter rests upon the reason for the drawing of the postdated checks different if this predicament was not communicated to all the parties he dealt with
by the petitioner, i.e., whether they were drawn or issued "to apply on account or for regarding the lease agreement the financing of which was covered by L.S. Finance
value", as required under Section 1 of B.P. Blg, 22. When viewed against the Management.
following definitions of the catch-terms "warranty" and "deposit", for which the
postdated checks were issued or drawn, all the more, the alleged crime could not
have been committed by petitioner: WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is REVERSED and the accused-petitioner is
hereby ACQUITTED of the crime charged.
a) Warranty A promise that a proposition of fact is true. A
promise that certain facts are truly as they are represented to be SO ORDERED.
and that they will remain so: . . . (Black's Law Dictionary, Fifth
Edition, (1979) p. 1423) G.R. No. 144887 November 17, 2004

A cross-reference to the following term shows: ALFREDO RIGOR, petitioner,


vs.
Fitness for Particular Purpose: PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.

Where the seller at the time of contracting has reason to know any DECISION
particular purpose for which the goods are required and that the
buyer is relying on the seller's skill or judgment to select or furnish AZCUNA, J.:
suitable goods, there is, unless excluded or modified, an implied
warranty that the goods shall be fit for such purpose, (Ibid., p. 573) This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision of the Court of Appeals, in CA-
G.R. CR No. 18855, which affirmed the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig,
b) Deposit: Money lodged with a person as an earnest or Branch 163, in Criminal Case No. 86025, convicting petitioner Alfredo Rigor of
security for the performance of some contract, to be forfeited if the violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 (the Bouncing Checks Law), and imposing upon
depositor fails in his undertaking. It may be deemed to be part him the penalty of imprisonment for six (6) months and ordering him to restitute to the
payment and to that extent may constitute the purchaser the actual Rural Bank of San Juan the sum of P500,000 and to pay the costs.
owner of the estate.
The Information1 against petitioner reads:
To commit to custody, or to lay down; to place; to put. To lodge for
safe- keeping or as a pledge to intrust to the care of another. That on or about the 16th day of November 1989 in the Municipality of San
Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the above-named accused, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and It was not the bank policy for a borrower to apply for a loan, obtain its
feloniously make or draw and issue to Rural Bank of San Juan, Inc. thru its approval and its proceeds on the same day. Appellants case was a special
loan officer Carlos N. Garcia, a postdated check to apply on account or for one considering that he is the "kumpare" of the President of RBSJ and he is
value the check described below: well-known to all the banks directors since he, like them, comes from Tarlac.

Appellant failed to pay his loan upon its maturity on December 16, 1989. He
Check No. : 165476 personally asked de Guzman for a two-month extension and advised RBSJ
to date to February 16, 1990 his Associated Bank check no. 165476. Failing
anew to pay, he asked for another two-month extension or up to April 16,
Drawn against : Associated Bank, Tarlac Branch 1990. Both requests de Guzman granted. On April 16, 1990, appellant still
failed to pay his loan. Basangan and his co-employee, Carlos Garcia, went
In the Amount of : P500,000.00 to Tarlac to collect from appellant the amount of the loan. Appellants written
request for another 30-day extension was denied by de Guzman who
instead, sent him a formal demand letter dated April 25, 1990.
Dated : February 16, 1990

On May 25, 1990, Associated Bank check no. 165476 was deposited with
Payable to : Rural Bank of San Juan PS Bank, San Juan Branch. The check was later returned with the words
"closed account" stamped on its face. Associated Bank employee PASION
said accused well knowing that at the time of issue on 16 November 1989, declared that appellants Current Account No. 1022-001197-9 with
he has already insufficient funds or credit with the drawee bank for the Associated Bank had been closed since February 2, 1990. Appellants
payment in full of the face amount of such check and that as of 2 February balance under the banks statement of account as of November 16, 1989
1990 his bank accounts were already closed and that check when presented was only P859. The most appellant had on his account was P40,000
for payment from and after the date thereof, was subsequently dishonored recorded on November 19, 1989 (Exh. "K").
for the reason "Account Closed" and despite receipt of notice of such
dishonor, the accused failed to pay said payee the face amount of said Basangan and Garcia, in Tarlac, advised appellant of the dishonor of his
check or to make arrangement for full payment thereof during the period of check. Appellant wrote Atty. Joselito Lim, RBSJ Chairman of the Board,
not less than five (5) banking days after receiving notice. about the loan and arrangements as to the schedule of his payment. His
letter was referred to de Guzman, who, in turn, sent to him another demand
When arraigned, petitioner pleaded not guilty. Thereafter, trial on the merits ensued. letter dated September 17, 1990. The letter informed him of the dishonor of
his check. De Guzman required him to take the necessary step for the early
settlement of his obligation. He still refused to pay.
The facts, as narrated by the Court of Appeals, are as follows:

Appellant denied the charge. He claimed that on November 16, 1989,


The prosecution evidence was furnished by witnesses Edmarcos Basangan
Agapito Uy and his sister Agnes Angeles proposed to him that he secure a
of Rural Bank of San Juan (RBSJ) and Esteban Pasion, employee of the
loan from the RBSJ for P500,000. P200,000 of it will be for him and the
Associated Bank. It was shown that on November 16, 1989, appellant
P300,000 will go to Uy and to his sister to pay unpaid loans of borrowers in
(petitioner herein) applied for a commercial loan from the Rural Bank of San
their "side banking" activities. For the approval of his loan, Uy told him that
Juan, Inc., at N. Domingo St., San Juan, Metro Manila in the sum of
appellant can put up his four-door Mercedes Benz as collateral for the
P500,000.00 (Exh. "A"). He signed a promissory note stating that an interest
P200,000 loan. The P300,000 will have no collateral. Uy also told him the he
of 24% per annum from its date will be charged on the loan (Exh. "B"). The
(Uy) has complete control of the bank and his Mercedes Benz will be
loan was approved by RBSJs Bank Manager Melquecedes de Guzman and
enough collateral for the P500,000.
Controller Agustin Uy. A cashiers check with RBSJ No. 2023424 in the
amount of P487,000.00, net proceeds of the loan, was issued to appellant
(Exh. "C"). Appellant endorsed, then encashed the check with RBSJ Teller Appellant agreed to the proposal. He signed a blank loan application form
Eleneth Cruz, who stamped thereon the word "paid" (Exh. "C-4"). After and a promissory note plus a chattel mortgage for his Mercedes Benz.
appellant received the proceeds, he issued an undated check, Associated Thereafter, he was told to come back in two days. Uy gave him two Premiere
Bank Check No. 165476, Tarlac Branch, in the amount of P500,000, payable Bank checks worth P100,000 each. He gave one check to his brother Efren
to RBSJ (Exh. "D"). Rigor and the other to his sister-in-law for encashment in Tarlac. He issued
to Uy a personal check for P500,000 undated. This check was deposited in
the bank for encashment in the later part of May, 1990 but it bounced. When
demand was made for him to pay his loan, he told Uy to get his Mercedes
Benz as payment for P200,000 but Uy refused. Uy wanted him to pay the 1) Absent the element of knowingly issuing a worthless check entitles the
whole amount of P500,000.2 petitioner to acquittal;

On July 8, 1994, the trial court rendered judgment against petitioner, the dispositive 2) Without proof that accused actually received a notice of dishonor, a
portion of which reads: prosecution for violation of the Bouncing Checks Law cannot prosper;

WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, this Court finds accused 3) The Pasig Court below had no jurisdiction to try and decide the case for
Alfredo Rigor guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Violation of violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22.6
Section 1 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 and there being no mitigating or
aggravating circumstance on record, imposes upon him the penalty of Petitioner contends that he did not violate Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 because he
imprisonment for six (6) months and to restitute to the Rural Bank of San told the officers of the complainant bank from the very beginning that he did not have
Juan the sum of P500,000.00 and to pay the costs. 3 sufficient funds in the bank; he was merely enticed by Agustin Uy, the banks
managing director and comptroller, to obtain the instant loan where he received only
The trial court stated the reasons for petitioners conviction, thus: P200,000, while Uy took P300,000; and his check was partly used to collateralize an
accommodation in favor of Uy in the amount of P300,000.
In the case at bar, accused admitted having issued Associated Bank Check
No. 165476 in the amount of P500,000.00. the check was undated when The contention is without merit.
issued. Records, however, show that it was issued on 16 November 1989
but as it appear[s] now it is dated 16 February 1990. The probable reason Petitioner is charged with violation of Section 1 of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22, thus:
must be because upon the maturity of his loan on 16 December 1989,
accused asked for extension of two (2) months to pay the same. And the
expiration of that two (2) months period is 16 February 1990. Nevertheless, SECTION 1.Checks without sufficient funds.-- Any person who makes or
Exhibit "K" for the prosecution including its submarkings show that the draws and issues any check to apply on account or for value, knowing at the
highest outstanding amount in the current account of accused with the time of issue that he does not have sufficient funds in or credit with the
Associated Bank, Tarlac Branch for the month of November 1989, the month drawee bank for the payment of such check in full upon its presentment,
Rigor issued aforesaid check, is only about P40,000.00. Hence, Rigor has which check is subsequently dishonored by the drawee bank for
no sufficient deposit in the bank to cover the amount of P500,000.00 when insufficiency of funds or credit or would have been dishonored for the same
he issued Check No. 165476. Therefore, Rigor knowingly issued the same reason had not the drawer, without any valid reason, ordered the bank to
he having no sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank in violation of stop payment, shall be punished by imprisonment of not less than thirty days
section 1 of [B.P.] Blg. 22. but not more than one (1) year or by a fine of not less than but not more than
double the amount of the check which fine shall in no case exceed Two
hundred thousand pesos, or both such fine and imprisonment at the
The defense of the accused that the amount of loan he secured from the discretion of the court.
Rural Bank of San Juan is only P200,000.00 is of no moment. The fact is he
admitted having issued Associated Bank Check No. 165476 in the amount of
P500,000.00 and upon its deposit for encashment, the same was The elements of the offense are: (1) Making, drawing, and issuance of any check to
dishonored for reason account closed.4 apply on account or for value; (2) knowledge of the maker, drawer, or issuer that at
the time of issue he does not have sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank
for the payment of the check in full upon its presentment; and (3) subsequent
Petitioner appealed his conviction to the Court of Appeals, which affirmed the trial dishonor of the check by the drawee bank for insufficiency of funds or credit, or
courts decision. The dispositive portion of the appellate courts decision reads: dishonor of the check for the same reason had not the drawer, without any valid
cause, ordered the bank to stop payment.7
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is AFFIRMED with the modification
that the reference to lack of mitigating or aggravating circumstances should As found by the Regional Trial Court and the Court of Appeals, all the aforementioned
be deleted and disregarded.5 elements are present in this case.

Hence, this petition for review on certiorari. The evidence shows that on November 16, 1989, petitioner applied 8 for a loan in the
amount of P500,000 with the Rural Bank of San Juan and on the same day, he issued
Petitioner raises the following: an undated Associated Bank Check No. 1654769worth P500,000 payable to Rural
Bank of San Juan in connection with the loan, which check was later dated February
16, 1990.10 The check was thus issued to apply for value. 11 This shows the presence petitioner did not receive the amount in question. All the while, said amount
of the first element of the offense. was in the safekeeping of the financing company, which is managed,
supervised and operated by the corporation officials and employees of LS
The presence of the second element of the offense is shown by petitioners Finance. Petitioner did not even know that the checks he issued were turned
admission12 that he knew of the insufficiency of his funds in the drawee bank when he over by Joey Gomez to Mrs. Teng, whose operation was kept from his
issued the check and he allegedly did not hide the fact from the officials of the Rural knowledge on her instruction. This fact alone evoke suspicion that the
Bank of San Juan. transaction is irregular and immoral per se, hence, she specifically requested
Gomez not to divulge the source of the "warrant deposit."
The Court of Appeals correctly ruled, thus:
It is intriguing to realize that Mrs. Teng did not want the petitioner to know
that it was she who "accommodated" petitioners request for Joey Gomez, to
xxx source out the needed funds for the "warranty deposit." Thus it unfolds the
kind of transaction that is shrouded with mystery, gimmickry and doubtful
Knowledge involves a state of mind difficult to establish. We hold that legality. It is in simple language, a scheme whereby Mrs. Teng as the
appellants admission of the insufficiency of his fund at the time he issued supplier of the equipment in the name of her corporation, Mancor, would be
the check constitutes the very element of "knowledge" contemplated in Sec. able to "sell or lease" its goods as in this case, and at the same time,
1 of BP 22. The prima facie presumption of knowledge required in Sec. 2, privately financing those who desperately need petty accommodations as
Ibid., does not apply because (a) the check was presented for payment only this one. This modus operandi has in so many instances victimized
on May 25, 1990 or beyond the 90-day period, which expired on May 16, unsuspecting businessmen, who likewise need protection from the law, by
1990, counted from the maturity date of the check on February 16, 1990 and availing of the deceptively called "warranty deposit" not realizing that they
(b) an actually admitted knowledge of a fact needs no presumption. also fall prey to leasing equipment under the guise of a lease purchase
agreement when it is a scheme designed to skim off business clients.19
While it is true that if a check is presented beyond ninety (90) days from its
due date, there is no more presumption of knowledge by the drawer that at This case, however, involves an ordinary loan transaction between petitioner and the
the time of issue his check has no sufficient funds, the presumption in this Rural Bank of San Juan wherein petitioner issued the check certainly to be applied to
case is supplanted by appellants own admission that he did not hide the fact the payment of his loan since the check and the loan have the same value of
that he had no sufficient funds for the check. In fact, it appears that when he P500,000. Whether petitioner agreed to give a portion of the proceeds of his loan to
authorized RBSJ to date his check on February 16, 1990, his current Agustin Uy, an officer of complainant bank, to finance Uys and his (petitioner) sisters
account was already closed two weeks earlier, on February 2, 1990.13 alleged "side-banking" activity, such agreement is immaterial to petitioners liability for
issuing the dishonored check under Batas Pambansa Bilang 22.
Petitioner, however, argues that since the officers of the bank knew that he did not
have sufficient funds, he has not violated Batas Pambansa Bilang 22. Lozano v. Martinez20 states:

Assuming arguendo that the payee had knowledge that he had insufficient funds at The gravamen of the offense punished by BP 22 is the act of making and
the time he issued the check, such knowledge by the payee is immaterial as deceit is issuing a worthless check or a check that is dishonored upon its presentation
not an essential element of the offense under Batas Pambansa Bilang 22. 14 The for payment. It is not the non-payment of an obligation which the law
gravamen of the offense is the issuance of a bad check; hence, malice and intent in punishes. The law is not intended or designed to coerce a debtor to pay his
the issuance thereof are inconsequential.15 debt. The thrust of the law is to prohibit, under pain of penal sanctions, the
making of worthless checks and putting them in circulation. Because of its
Moreover, the cited case of Magno v. Court of Appeals, 16 which resulted in the deleterious effects on the public interest, the practice is proscribed by the
acquittal of the accused therein, is inapplicable to petitioner as the facts of said case law. The law punishes the act not as an offense against property, but an
are different. In Magno, the bounced checks were issued to cover a warranty deposit offense against public order.
in a lease contract, where the lessor-supplier was also the financier of the deposit.17 It
was a modus operandi whereby the supplier of the goods is also able to sell or lease People v. Nitafan21 held that to require that the agreement surrounding the issuance
the same goods at the same time privately financing those in desperate need so they of checks be first looked into and thereafter exempt such issuance from the
may be accommodated.18 The Court therein held: provisions of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 on the basis of such agreement or
understanding would frustrate the very purpose for which the law was enacted.
To charge the petitioner for the refund of a "warranty deposit" which he did
not withdraw as it was not his own account, it having remained with LS Further, the presence of the third element of the offense is shown by the fact that after
Finance, is to even make him pay an unjust "debt," to say the least, since the check was deposited for encashment, it was dishonored by Associated Bank for
reason of "closed account" as evidenced by its Check Return Slip.22 Despite receipt of
a notice of dishonor from complainant bank, petitioner failed to pay his obligation.
MELQUECEDES DE GUZMAN
Petitioner next contends that he did not receive a notice of dishonor, the absence of
which precludes criminal prosecution.
The transcript of records27 shows that petitioner admitted knowledge of the dishonor
The contention is likewise of no merit. of his check through a demand letter sent to him. Hence, petitioner cannot pretend
that he did not receive a notice of dishonor of his check.
The notice of dishonor of a check may be sent to the drawer or maker by the drawee
bank, the holder of the check, or the offended party either by personal delivery or by Lastly, petitioner contends that the Regional Trial Court of Pasig had no jurisdiction
registered mail.23 The notice of dishonor to the maker of a check must be in writing.24 over this case since no proof has been offered that his check was issued, delivered,
dishonored or that knowledge of insufficiency of funds occurred in the Municipality of
In this case, prosecution witness Edmarcos Basangan testified that after petitioners San Juan, Metro Manila.
check was dishonored, he and co-employee Carlos Garcia went to petitioners
residence in Tarlac to inform him about it. Thereafter, petitioner wrote a letter dated The contention is untenable.
June 28, 1990 to Atty. Joselito Lim, RBSJ chairman of the Board of Directors,
proposing a manner of paying the loan. The letter was referred to the bank manager
who sent petitioner another demand letter25 dated September 17, 1990 through As regards venue of a criminal action, Section 15, paragraph (a), of Rule 110 of the
registered mail.26 Said letter informed petitioner of the dishonor of his check for the 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, which reflects the old rule,28 provides:
reason of account closed, and required him to settle his obligation, thus:
Sec. 15. Place where action is to be instituted.
xxx
(a) Subject to existing laws, the criminal action shall be instituted and tried in
the court of the municipality or territory where the offense was committed or
where any of its essential ingredients occurred. (Emphasis supplied.)
September 17, 1990
Violations of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 are categorized as transitory or continuing
crimes.29 In such crimes, some acts material and essential to the crimes and requisite
to their consummation occur in one municipality or territory and some in another, in
Mr. Alfredo Rigor which event, the court of either has jurisdiction to try the cases, it being understood
Victoria, Tarlac that the first court taking cognizance of the case excludes the other. 30 Hence, a
person charged with a transitory crime may be validly tried in any municipality or
Dear Mr. Rigor, territory where the offense was in part committed.31

Please be informed that the check dated February 16, 1990, that you issued The evidence clearly shows that the undated check was issued and delivered at the
purportedly for the payment of your loan, which has already become due Rural Bank of San Juan, Metro Manila32 on November 16, 1989, and subsequently
and demandable in the sum of PESOS: Five Hundred Thousand Pesos Only the check was dated February 16, 1990 thereat. On May 25, 1990, the check was
(P500,000.00) was dishonored on February 16, 1990 (should be May 25, deposited with PS Bank, San Juan Branch, Metro Manila.33 Thus, the Court of
1990) for the reason Account Closed (AC). Appeals correctly ruled:

We trust that you will take the necessary step for the early settlement of your Violations of B.P. 22 are categorized as transitory or continuing crimes. A suit
obligation to us. on the check can be filed in any of the places where any of the elements of
the offense occurred, that is, where the check is drawn, issued, delivered or
dishonored. x x x

Very truly yours, The information at bar effectively charges San Juan as the place of drawing
and issuing. The jurisdiction of courts in criminal cases is determined by the
allegations of the complaint or information. Although, the check was
dishonored by the drawee, Associated Bank, in its Tarlac Branch, appellant
has drawn, issued and delivered it at RBSJ, San Juan. The place of issue
and delivery was San Juan and knowledge, as an essential part of the
offense, was also overtly manifested in San Juan. There is no question that
crimes committed in November, 1989 in San Juan are triable by the RTC
stationed in Pasig. In short both allegation and proof in this case sufficiently
vest jurisdiction upon the RTC in Pasig City. 34

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision of the Court of
Appeals, in CA-G.R. CR No. 18855, is hereby AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 167461 February 19, 2008

VICKY MOSTER, petitioner,


vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.

DECISION

QUISUMBING, J.:

This petition assails the Decision1 dated October 29, 2004 of the Court of Appeals in
CA-G.R. CR No. 27595, affirming with modification the Decision2 dated August 28,
2002 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Caloocan City, Branch 124. The Court of dishonored for the reason ACCOUNT CLOSED and with intent to defraud,
Appeals found petitioner Vicky L. Moster guilty on two counts for violation of Batas failed and still fails to pay the said complainant the amount of P188,514.00
Pambansa Blg. 22 (B.P. Blg. 22),3 otherwise known as the Bouncing Checks Law. despite receipt of notice from the drawee bank that said check has been
She was sentenced to pay, in addition to the fines imposed with subsidiary dishonored and had not been paid.
imprisonment in case of insolvency, P273,345, representing the two unpaid checks
subject of this case. Also assailed is the Resolution4 dated March 16, 2005 of the CONTRARY TO LAW.7
appellate court denying petitioners motion for reconsideration.
When arraigned, petitioner pleaded not guilty.
The antecedent facts, as culled from the findings of the trial and appellate courts, are
as follows:
At the trial, Alfredo S. Daza, Branch Manager of PhilBank, identified the three subject
checks as PhilBank checks drawn against the account of petitioner. He also testified
According to complainant Adriana Presas, who is engaged in the rediscounting that only Check Nos. 026138 and 026124 were presented to the bank for clearing,
business, on or about August 1995, petitioner obtained from her a loan of P450,000, and that these were dishonored for the reason "Account Closed." Daza showed a
for which the petitioner issued as payment three postdated PhilBank checks, as certified true copy of a computer printout, showing that petitioners account under
follows: Account Number 1053-0463-2 had a temporary overdraft or negative balance
of P3,301.04 as of November 22, 1995, for which reason the account was closed.
Check No. 026137 dated October 31, 1995 amounting to P94,257.00; Daza explained that issuing a check without sufficient funds was against bank policy,
and when an account holder issues an unfunded check, the bank has the prerogative
Check No. 026138 dated October 31, 1995 amounting to P188,514.00; to close the account.

Check No. 026124 dated December 31, 1995 amounting to P84,831.00.5 Petitioner, for her part, testified that sometime in August 1994, she got from Presas,
by way of checks rediscounting, her first loan for P60,000, secured by her Isuzu
vehicle. After obtaining additional loan, her total loan amounted to P150,000, but
The three checks were all payable to cash. Presas testified she did not deposit the because of the interest, it ballooned to P375,345. According to petitioner, the three
checks on their due dates upon petitioners request and assurance that they would be PhilBank checks she issued were the payment for the aforementioned loan. After
replaced with cash. When she could not wait any longer, Presas deposited Check Check Nos. 026138 and 026124 bounced, she replaced them with Asiatrust Bank
Nos. 026138 and 026124 in her Westmont Bank account, sometime in January 1996 Check No. 0446323 dated February 8, 1996 for P273,345, the value of the two
and March 1996, respectively, only to be notified later that the checks were bounced checks. Presas did not encash the first check, Check No. 026137. When
dishonored because the account had been closed. Presas said she did not deposit she tried to retrieve the initial three subject checks, Presas refused, claiming
Check No. 026137 after she agreed to petitioners request to withhold its deposit as it petitioner still owed interest.
had not yet been funded. After receiving notice that Check Nos. 026138 and 026124
had been dishonored, Presas immediately informed petitioner thereof and demanded
payment for the value of the checks. This demand, however, went unheeded. On December 27, 2000, the MeTC rendered its decision, convicting petitioner as
follows:
In a letter dated January 14, 1997, Presas through counsel, demanded from petitioner
the settlement of P367,602, representing the total value of the three checks, within One of the essential elements of the offense of violation of the Anti-Bouncing
five days from receipt. Petitioner, however, did not comply. Thus, three Informations Check Law is that upon its presentment, the check is subsequently
for violation of B.P. Blg. 22, docketed as Criminal Case Nos. 178240, 178241 and dishonored by the drawee bank for insufficiency of funds or credit. As
178242, were filed against petitioner in Branch 49, Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC), admittedly, PhilBank Check No. 026137 in the amount of P94,257.00 dated
Caloocan City. The Informations were similarly worded except with respect to the Oct. 31, 1995 was not presented to the drawee bank and therefore could not
check numbers, the dates and amounts of the checks,6 as follows: have been dishonored for insufficiency of fund or credit, the crime of issuing
a bum check of which the accused is charged in Crim. Case No. 178241
does not exist and accused Vicky Moster y Libarnes is hereby [a]cquitted of
That sometime in the month of August 1995 in Caloocan City, Metro Manila, the charge.
Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-
named accused, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously make
and issue Check No. 026138 drawn against PHILBANK in the amount xxxx
of P188,514.00 dated October 31, 1995 to apply for value in favor of
ADRIANA PRESAS well knowing at the time of issue that she has no WHEREFORE, upon a careful consideration of the foregoing evidence, the
sufficient fund in or credit with the drawee bank for the payment of such Court finds the same to be sufficient to support a conviction of the accused
check in full upon its presentment, which check was subsequently beyond reasonable doubt of the offense of violation of B.P. [Blg.] 22 on two
counts and hereby sentences accused Vicky Moster Y Libarnes to pay a THAT THE ACCUSED-PETITIONER IS ORDERED TO PAY IN ADDITION
fine of two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00) in Crim. Case No. TO THE FINES IMPOSED THE AMOUNT OF TWO HUNDRED SEVENTY
178240 and a fine of eighty-five thousand pesos (P85,000.00) in Crim. Case THREE THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED FORTY FIVE PESOS
No. 178242, with subsidiary imprisonment in both cases in case of (Ps.273,345.00) REPRESENTING THE VALUE OF THE TWO PHILBANK
insolvency. CHECKS THAT ARE YET UNPAID. WITH INTEREST THEREON AT 12%
PER ANNUM FROM FEBRUARY 1996 UNTIL THE AMOUNT IS FULLY
Accused is further ordered to pay complainant Adriana Presas the PAID AND TO PAY THE COST OF THESE SUITS.10
amount of three hundred sixty-seven thousand six hundred two pesos
(P367,602.00) representing the value of the three PhilBank [c]hecks that Simply, the two issues for our resolution are (1) Was petitioners guilt proven beyond
are yet unpaid with interest thereon at 12% per annum from February, 1996 reasonable doubt? and (2) Did the Court of Appeals err in holding petitioner liable for
until the amount is fully paid and to pay the cost of these suits. the value of the two PhilBank checks, with 12% interest?

SO ORDERED.8 (Emphasis supplied.) Petitioner admits she issued the three subject checks but insists that she is not liable
under B.P. Blg. 22 because the prosecution failed to prove the element of knowledge
The RTC affirmed in toto the MeTCs decision and subsequently denied the motion of the insufficiency of funds as it had not established that she actually received a
for reconsideration. On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed with modification the notice of dishonor. She adds that she had already settled her obligation with Presas
RTCs decision, thus: when she replaced the two bounced checks with Asiatrust Bank Check No. 0446323.

WHEREFORE, we AFFIRM the assailed decision of the RTC with Respondent, through the Office of the Solicitor General, counters that petitioner was
the modification that the accused-petitioner is ordered to pay, in addition duly notified of the dishonor of the checks when petitioner received Presass January
to the fines imposed, the amount of Two Hundred Seventy-Three 14, 1997 letter11 on January 29, 1997. Respondent claims it presented not only the
Thousand, Three Hundred Forty-Five Pesos (P273,345.00), representing registry receipt12 but also the registry return card13 to prove mailing and receipt of the
the value of the two PhilBank Checks that are yet unpaid, with interest notice of dishonor. In fact, as respondent argues, petitioner herself admitted she had
thereon at 12% per annum from February 1996 until the amount is fully paid, replaced the dishonored checks with an Asiatrust Bank Check No. 0446323 dated
and to pay the cost of these suits. February 8, 1996.

SO ORDERED.9 (Emphasis supplied.) We find merit in the petition.

Petitioner sought reconsideration, but her motion was denied. Hence, this petition, B.P. Blg. 22 punishes as malum prohibitum the mere issuance of a worthless check,
anchored on the following grounds: provided the other elements of the offense are proved. Section 1 14 enumerates the
elements of B.P. Blg. 22, as follows: (1) the making, drawing, and issuance of any
check to apply on account or for value; (2) the knowledge of the maker, drawer, or
I. issuer that at the time of issue he does not have sufficient funds in or credit with the
drawee bank for the payment of the check in full upon its presentment; and (3) the
WHETHER OR NOT PETITIONERS GUILT HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED subsequent dishonor of the check by the drawee bank for insufficiency of funds or
BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT AND THAT THE COURT OF APPEALS credit or dishonor for the same reason had not the drawer, without any valid cause,
COMMITTED GRAVE ERROR WHEN IT RULED IN A MANNER THAT ordered the bank to stop payment.15
DISREGARDED THE PRECEDENTS LAID DOWN IN MAGNO VS. COURT
OF APPEALS, 210 SCRA 471 [1992]; CABRERA VS. PEOPLE[,] 407 SCRA Upon careful examination of the records, however, we found that only the first and
247 [2003]; RICO VS. PEOPLE[,] 392 SCRA 61 [2002]; KING VS. third elements have been established by the prosecution. By her own admission,
PEOPLE[,] 319 SCRA 654 [1999]; LLAMAD[O] VS. COURT OF APPEALS, petitioner issued the three subject checks, two of which were presented to PhilBank
270 SCRA 423 [1997] AND LAO VS. COURT OF APPEALS, 274 SCRA 572 but were dishonored and stamped for the reason "Account Closed." Under Section
[1997]. 316 of B.P. Blg. 22, the introduction in evidence of the dishonored check, having the
drawees refusal to pay stamped or written thereon, or attached thereto, with the
II. reason therefor as aforesaid shall be prima facie evidence of the making or issuing of
the said checks and the due presentment to the drawee for payment and the dishonor
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE thereof, and that the same was properly dishonored for the reason written, stamped
ERROR, AND MISINTERPRETED THE FACTS AND EVIDENCE IN or attached thereto by the drawee on such dishonored checks.17
AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE RTC WITH THE MODIFICATION
As to the second element, Section 2 18 of B.P. Blg. 22 creates the presumption that the Q: There is here attached to the demand letter the registry return card?
issuer of the check was aware of the insufficiency of funds when he issued a check
and the bank dishonored it.19 This presumption, however, arises only after it is proved A: Yes sir, that is the proof that the demand letter was sent to Vicky
that the issuer had received a written notice of dishonor and that, within five days Moster.23
from receipt thereof, he failed to pay the amount of the check or to make
arrangements for its payment.20
In Cabrera v. People, we ruled that it is not enough for the prosecution to prove that a
notice of dishonor was sent to the drawee of the check. The prosecution must also
Ordinarily, preponderance of evidence is sufficient to prove notice. But in criminal prove actual receipt of said notice because the fact of service provided for in the law
cases, the quantum of proof required is proof beyond reasonable doubt.21 In the is reckoned from receipt of such notice of dishonor by the drawee of the check.24We
instant case, the prosecution merely presented a copy of the demand letter allegedly even held in Ting v. Court of Appeals that possibilities cannot replace proof beyond
sent to petitioner through registered mail and the registry return card. There was no reasonable doubt. When there is insufficient proof of receipt of notice of dishonor, as
attempt to authenticate or identify the signature on the registry return card. All that we in this case, the presumption of knowledge of insufficiency of funds cannot arise. 25 A
have on record is an illegible signature on the registry receipt as evidence that notice of dishonor personally sent to and received by the accused is necessary before
someone received the letter. As to whether this signature is that of petitioner or her one can be held liable under B.P. Blg. 22.26 The failure of the prosecution to prove the
authorized agent remains a mystery. We stress that as we have held in Rico v. receipt by petitioner of the requisite written notice of dishonor and that she was given
People,22 receipts for registered letters and return receipts do not by themselves at least five banking days within which to settle her account constitutes sufficient
prove receipt; they must be properly authenticated to serve as proof of receipt of the ground for her acquittal. We must emphasize, as we held in King v. People, the
letters, claimed to be a notice of dishonor. prosecution has the burden of proving beyond reasonable doubt each element of the
crime as its case will rise or fall on the strength of its own evidence. 27 Any doubt shall
Unfortunately, the prosecution presented only the testimony of Presas to prove be resolved in favor of the accused.28
mailing and receipt of the demand letter, to wit:
Nonetheless, while petitioner must be acquitted for violation of B.P. Blg. 22 for lack of
Q: When you were informed by the bank that the checks bounced and you proof of the second element of the offense, she should be ordered to pay the face
informed the accused about it, what was her answer? value of the three checks less the six thousand pesos she had already paid, plus
legal interest, conformably with our ruling in Rico v. People,29 where we held that an
A: Accused told me to wait and she will settle the matter. acquittal based on reasonable doubt does not preclude the award of civil damages.
As admitted by petitioner herself in the following testimony, she has not paid her
obligation, to wit:
Q: What happen to her promises that she will settle the checks?
Q: So in other words, Check No. 026137 dated October 31 in the amount
A: When the accused failed to comply with her promise I filed the case in of P94,000.00, the original of which is in the possession of the complainant
court. and which is the basis of this case, the same is still not paid Mrs. Witness?

xxxx A: Not yet sir.

Q: Aside from your oral demand, what other demand did you make on the Q: Likewise, Check No. 026138 dated Oct. 31, 1995 in the amount of
accused? One hundred eighty eight five hundred thousand pesos [sic] which is also in
the possession of the complainant and is also the basis of this case is not
A: I went to my lawyer to file the case in court. paid. Is that correct?

Q: Aside from filing the complaint what did Atty. Galope do? A: That P188,514.00, that is the check I am referring to that I wanted to be
returned to me because I have already paid for that check.
xxxx
Q: Likewise, because the complainant was in the possession of the
A: my lawyer Atty. Galope sent a demand letter to the accused. original of [C]heck No. 0261124 [sic] dated Dec. 13, the same is yet unpaid.
Is that correct?

xxxx
A: I have already issued a check regarding that amount.
Q: Are you implying that all these checks are replaced by another Q: Yes Ms. Witness. What I am asking you is whether those checks, Exhs.
check? "4" to "13" were presented and encashed and you said No Your Honor,
so why do you think that those checks were your payment when the
A: Yes. same were not encashed?

Q: Do you have the check now? A: Because our previous agreement is that before she handed to me
the cash loan, she told me to issue several checks but everytime I was
able to pay her, for example, one check in the amount of ten thousand
A: The check I earlier presented. The check in the amount of P273,000[.] pesos, she would return to me one check in the amount of ten
thousand pesos, Your Honor.30 (Emphasis supplied.)
Q: But the check is not encashed by the bank, there was no endorsement
by the bank? WHEREFORE, the Decision dated October 29, 2004 and Resolution dated March 16,
2005 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 27595 are
A: Yes, because we agreed not to deposit the check. hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Petitioner Vicky Moster is acquitted of the
charge for violation of B.P. Blg. 22 on the ground of reasonable doubt. She is,
xxxx however, DIRECTED to pay private complainant the total amount of P367,602
corresponding to the three PhilBank checks that are yet unpaid with interest thereon
at 12% per annum from the filing of the information until the finality of this decision,
Q: So in other words, these checks marked as Exhs. "4" to "13" were the sum of which, inclusive of interest, shall be subject thereafter to 12% per annum
already in your possession at the time when you were investigated by the interest until the amount due is fully paid.
fiscal when you were required to submit the counter affidavit?
SO ORDERED.
A: Yes.

Q: And despite that, you could have presented that whatever [complaint]
affidavit just to dismiss these subject cases?

A: Yes.

Q: And you failed to do so?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you admit that not a single money was paid with respect to
these checks?

A: I was able to pay her six thousand pesos.

Q: Is it correct to say that six thousand pesos cannot clearly cover


the amount of three hundred sixty six thousand pesos?

A: The check previously marked as Exh. "4" to "13" are the


replacement for the checks.

xxxx