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GR 152895 JUNE 15, 2004
OFELIA V. ARCETA, Petitioner
The Honorable Ma. Celistina C. Mangrobang, Presiding Judge Branch 54, Metropolitan Trial Court , Navotas, Metro Manila, Reespondent
Petitioner, Ofelia V. Arceta issued a check amounting to 740,000 to Oscar Castro even with full knowledge that her account has no sufficient fund for the said amount. The check was subsequently dishonoured by the bank for reason “DRAWN AGAINST INSUFFICIENT FUNDS”(DAIF). The City Prosecutor of Navotas charged Arceta of violating BP Blg 22 (Bouncing Checks Law). Petitioner did not move to have the charge against her dismissed on the ground that BP 22 was unconstitutional in the arraignment.
However, in the petition filed to the Supreme Court, Arceta indirectly attacked the constitutionality of the said law.
ISSUE: Whether or not the constitutionality of BP 22 is the Lis Mota of the case.
Supreme Court held that the constitutional question raised by the petitioner is not the very lis mota of the case. Every case has in its favor presumption of constitutionality, and to say otherwise, there must be an apparent and clear breach of the constitution. Based on the contentions of the petitioners, they still have to convince the Court that BP 22 or its implementation violated any provision of the Constitution. As stressed in Lozano vs. Martinez, BP 22 does not punish the non-payment of debt per se and does not intend or designed to coerce a debtor to pay his debt. It is the act of making worthless checks and putting them in circulation that is being punished.