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LUIS S. WONG, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents, G.R. No.

117857, February 2, 2001 Facts: Petitioner Wong was an agent of Limtong Press. Inc. (LPI), a manufacturer of calendars. After
printing the calendars, LPI would ship the calendars directly to the customers. Thereafter, the agents would come around to collect the payments. Petitioner, however, had a history of unremitted collections.. Hence, petitioners customers were required to issue post-dated checks before LPI would accept their purchase orders. In early December 1985, Wong issued six (6) postdated checks totaling P18,025.00, intended to guarantee the calendar orders of customers who failed to issue post-dated checks. However, following company policy, LPI refused to accept the checks as guarantees. Instead, the parties agreed to apply the checks to the payment of petitioners unremitted collections. Before the maturity of the checks, petitioner prevailed upon LPI not to deposit the checks and promised to replace them within 30 days. However, petitioner reneged on his promise. Hence, on June 5, 1986, LPI deposited the checks with Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC). The checks were returned for the reason "account closed." Petitioner failed to make arrangements for payment within five (5) banking days. Petitioner was charged with three (3) counts of violation of B.P. Blg. 22 and was found guilty by the trial court, to which the CA affirmed.

Issue: Whether or not LPI deposited the checks within a reasonable time. Held: Yes. Petitioner avers that since the complainant deposited the checks on June 5, 1986, or 157
days after the December 30, 1985 maturity date, the presumption of knowledge of lack of funds under Section 2 of B.P. Blg. 22 should not apply to him. He further claims that he should not be expected to keep his bank account active and funded beyond the ninety-day period. Under Section 186 of the Negotiable Instruments Law, "a check must be presented for payment within a reasonable time after its issue or the drawer will be discharged from liability thereon to the extent of the loss caused by the delay." By current banking practice, a check becomes stale after more than six (6) months, or 180 days. Private respondent herein deposited the checks 157 days after the date of the check. Hence said checks cannot be considered stale. Only the presumption of knowledge of insufficiency of funds was lost, but such knowledge could still be proven by direct or circumstantial evidence. As found by the trial court, private respondent did not deposit the checks because of the reassurance of petitioner that he would issue new checks. Upon his failure to do so, LPI was constrained to deposit the said checks. After the checks were dishonored, petitioner was duly notified of such fact but failed to make arrangements for full payment within five (5) banking days thereof. There is, on record, sufficient evidence that petitioner had knowledge of the insufficiency of his funds in or credit with the drawee bank at the time of issuance of the checks.