G.R. No. 158312 November 14, 2008
Lessons Applicable: General Provisions (Negotiable Instruments Law)
- Since 1990, John Dy under the business name Dyna MarketinG has been the distributor of W.L. Food Products (W.L. Foods)
- Dy would pay W.L. Foods in either cash or check upon pick up of stocks of snack foods
- At times, he would entrust the payment to one of his drivers.
- June 24, 1992: Dy's driver went to the branch office of W.L. Foods to pick up stocks of snack foods.
- He introduced himself to the checker, Mary Jane D. Maraca, who upon confirming Dy's credit with the main office, gave him merchandise worth P106,579.60
- In return, the driver handed her a blank Far East Bank and Trust Company (FEBTC) Check postdated July 22, 1992 signed by Dy
- July 1, 1992: the driver obtained snack foods worth P226,794.36 in exchange for a blank FEBTC Check postdated July 31, 1992
- In both instances, the driver was issued an unsigned delivery receipt.
- When presented for payment, FEBTC dishonored the checks for insufficiency of funds.
- Later, Gonzales sent Atty. Jimeno another letter advising her that FEBTC Check for P106,579.60 was returned to the drawee bank for the reasons stop payment order and drawn against uncollected deposit (DAUD), and not because it was drawn against insufficient funds as stated in the first letter.
- Dy's savings deposit account ledger reflected a balance of P160,659.39 as of July 22, 1992. This, however, included a regional clearing check for P55,000 which he deposited on July 20, 1992, and which took 5 banking days to clear.
- When William Lim, owner of W.L. Foods, phoned Dy about the matter, the latter explained that he could not pay since he had no funds yet.
- This prompted the former to send petitioner a demand letter, which the latter ignored.
- July 16, 1993: Lim charged Dy with 2 counts of estafa under Article 315, paragraph 2(d) of RPC and 2 counts of violation of B.P. Blg. 22
- RTC convicted Dy on two counts each of estafa and violation of B.P. Blg. 22.
- CA: affirmed
- Dy contends that the checks were ineffectively issued
- W.L. Foods' accountant had no authority to fill the amounts
ISSUE: W/N Dy is liable for estafa and in violation of BP 22. Acquitted for the criminal cases in relation to the first check.
HELD: YES but only for the 2nd check.
- estafa under Article 315, paragraph 2(d) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 4885 elements
- postdating or issuance of a check in payment of an obligation contracted at the time the check was issued
- insufficiency of funds to cover the check - including the uncollected deposit he had more than enough funds to cover the first check
- damage to the payee
- Section 191 of the Negotiable Instruments Law
- "issue" - first delivery of an instrument, complete in form, to a person who takes it as a holder
- Significantly, delivery is the final act essential to the negotiability of an instrument. Delivery denotes physical transfer of the instrument by the maker or drawer coupled with an intention to convey title to the payee and recognize him as a holder. It means more than handing over to another; it imports such transfer of the instrument to another as to enable the latter to hold it for himself
- Even if the checks were given to W.L. Foods in blank, this alone did not make its issuance invalid.
- When the checks were delivered to Lim, through his employee, he became a holder with prima facie authority to fill the blanks
SEC. 14. Blanks; when may be filled.-Where the instrument is wanting in any material particular,the person in possession thereof has a prima facie authority to complete it by filling up the blanks therein. And a signature on a blank paper delivered by the person making the signature in order that the paper may be converted into a negotiable instrument operates as aprima facie authority to fill it up as such for any amount.
- law merely requires that the instrument be in the possession of a person other than the drawer or maker
- From such possession, together with the fact that the instrument is wanting in a material particular, the law presumes agency to fill up the blanks
- burden of proving want of authority or that the authority granted was exceeded, is placed on the person questioning such authority - Dy didn't fulfill this
- estafa punished under Article 315, paragraph 2(d) of the Revised Penal Code is committed when a check is dishonored for being drawn against insufficient funds or closed account, and not against uncollected deposit. Corollarily, the issuer of the check is not liable for estafa if the remaining balance and the uncollected deposit, which was duly collected, could satisfy the amount of the check when presented for payment.
- B.P. Blg. 22 elements = malum prohibitum
- the making, drawing and issuance of any check to apply to account or for value
- the 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 such check in full upon its presentment
- 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 payment - considered by the bank to retroactively have had P160,659.39 in his account on July 22, 1992 which was more than enough to cover the first check