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BEN B.

RICO V PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

G.R. NO. 137191 | NOVEMBER 18, 2002 | QUISIMBING, J.

FACTS: Petitioner Ben B. Rico was a pakyaw contractor who purchased construction materials on credit
from Ever Lucky Commercial (ELC), represented by its Manager Victor Chan. Petitioner payed either
through cash or post-dated checks. Petitioner Rico issued checks in the amount of P178,434.00 drawn
against PCIB in favor of ELC as payment for construction materials he that he purchased through credit.
However these checks were dishonered due to insufficient funds or being drawn against a closed
account. ELC demanded payment from Rico, however no formal written demand letter or notice of
dishonor was sent to the latter. It is also established that ELC issued several receipts covering several
payments in various amounts made by Rico as replacement of some dishonoured checks but returned
checks as well as payment of purchased materials. Rico claimed that he had already paid the amounts
covered by the checks totalling P284,340.50 including interest. According to Rico, the difference between
the total amount as reflected in the receipts and the total amount covered by the subject checks
represented interest. ELC filed a complaint for B.P. 22 against Rico. The trial court found Rico guilty
beyond reasonable doubt. The CA affirmed the trial courts decision.

ISSUE: Whether or not petitioner Rico is guilty under B.P. 22

HELD: No. Petitioner Rico is acquitted of the charge for violation of B.P. 22 on the ground of reasonable
doubt. The law enumerated the 3 elements of B.P. 22, namely: (1) the making, drawing, issuance of any
check for account or value; (2) 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 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 payment. In this case, the second element is not present. Knowledge of insufficiency of
funds or credit in the drawee bank is an essential element of the offense. If such notice of non-payment
by the drawee bank is not sent to the maker or drawer of the check then the presumption of such
knowledge does not arise. The prosecution failed to prove that petitioner received any notice of dishonor.
In fine, the failure of the prosecution to prove the existence and receipt by petitioner of the requisite
written notice of dishonor and that he was given at least five banking days within which to settle his
account constitutes sufficient ground for his acquittal.