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Luis Wong vs CA (GR No. 117857, 2 Feb 2001)
Luis 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. Wong, however, had a history of unremitted collections. Hence, petitioner’s 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 Wong’s 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, Wong 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." Wong failed to make arrangements for payment within five (5) bankingdays. Wong 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. Wong contends that checks were issued as guarantee and the obligations they were supposed to guarantee were already paid and not as payment for unremitted collection
Whether Wong is guilty for the violation of BP 22.
Yes. Wong’s argument is flawed and has no factual basis, the RTC and CA having both ruled that the checks were in payment for unremitted collections, and not as guarantee. Likewise, the argument has no legal basis, for what B.P. Blg. 22 punishes the issuance of a bouncing check and not the purpose for which it was issued nor the terms and conditions relating to its issuance.There are two (2) ways of violating B.P. Blg. 22: (1) by making or drawing and issuing a check to apply on account or for value knowing at the time of issue that the check is not sufficiently funded; and (2) by having sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank at the time of issue but failing to keep sufficient funds therein or credit with said bank to cover the full amount of the check when presented to the drawee bank within a period of ninety (90) days.
As to the second element, B.P. Blg. 22 creates a presumption juris tantum that the second element prima facie exists when the first and third elements of the offense are present.20 Thus, the maker’s knowledge is presumed from the dishonor of the check for insufficiency of funds.21
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.
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