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REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

National Capital Judicial Region


METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT
Branch 47, Pasay City

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,


Plaintiff,
Criminal Case No. 04-2399 CFM
-versus- Criminal Case No. 04-2400 CFM
For: Violation of BP Blg. 22
RUFINA MANALO AND CARINA
MANALO DE GUZMAN,
Accused.
x-----------------------------------------x

JOINT DECISION

Accusation is not synonymous with guilt. It is incumbent upon the


prosecution to demonstrate the culpability lies.1 The freedom of the accused is forfeited
only if the requisite quantum of proof necessary for his conviction be in existence. His
guilt must be proved beyond reasonable doubt. After an assiduous scrutiny of the
testimonial and documentary evidence of the State in this case, did the prosecution
discharge its burden in proving the guilt of the accused without any shadow of doubt for
violation of BP Blg. 22?

THE CHARGES

In Criminal Case No. 04-2399 CFM, accused Rufina Manalo and Carina
Manalo De Guzman stand charged with violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22, the
accusatory portion of the Information reads as follows:

That on or about the 11th day of March, 2003, in Pasay City, Metro Manila,
Philippines and within the jurisdiction of the Honorable Court, the above-named
accused, conspiring together and mutually helping one another, well knowing that
their account in the bank had no funds at all, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully
and feloniously draw and issue FIRST E-BANK CHECK No. 0130036 post dated April
04, 2003 with the amount of Php56,400.00 in payment of the in obligation to
complainant JERUSALEM O. YAO, but when the check was presented to the drawee
bank for payment, the same was reason for the reason ACCOUNT CLOSED, and
despite demand made upon accused to make arrangements for the full payment of the
check, the said accused refused and failed and continue to refuse and fail to make good
the check, to the damage and prejudice of the aforesaid complainant in the aforesaid
amount of Php56,400.00

Contrary to law.

1
See People vs. Castro, G.R. No. L-42478, October 4, 1989.

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In Criminal Case No. 04-2400 CFM, accused Rufina Manalo and Carina
Manalo De Guzman stand charged with violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22, the
accusatory portion of the Information reads as follows:

That on or about the 11th day of March, 2003, in Pasay City, Metro Manila,
Philippines and within the jurisdiction of the Honorable Court, the above-named
accused, conspiring together and mutually helping one another, well knowing that their
account in the bank had no funds at all, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and
feloniously draw and issue METROBANK CHECK No. 0151916 post dated March 27,
2003 with the amount of Php56,400.00 in payment of the in obligation to complainant
JERUSALEM O. YAO, but when the check was presented to the drawee bank for
payment, the same was reason for the reason ACCOUNT CLOSED, and despite
demand made upon accused to make arrangements for the full payment of the check,
the said accused refused and failed and continue to refuse and fail to make good the
check, to the damage and prejudice of the aforesaid complainant in the aforesaid
amount of Php56,400.00

Contrary to law.

STATEMENT OF THE CASE

During the arraignment on February 28, 2005, accused Rufina Manalo and
Carina Manalo De Guzman were issued warrant of arrest. On March 25, 2005, accused
Rufina Manalo entered a plea of not guilty when she was arraigned while co-accused
Carina Manalo De Guzman was not arraigned. Preliminary conference was reset several
times. On October 3, 2005, pre-trial was terminated. Trial on the merit ensued. On
October 20, 2008, the prosecution formally filed its formal offer of evidence. The
defense did not file any comment or opposition thereto. The Court admitted
prosecutions Exhibits A to G with sub-markings. Thereafter, the prosecution rested
its case. Starting on December 3, 2008, the initial presentation of defense evidence was
reset several times. On May 19, 2010, accused Rufina Manalo who has standing
warrant of arrest, was deemed to have waived the presentation of evidence on motion of
Assistant City Prosecutor John Giselher Imperial. The case was submitted for decision.

EVIDENCE FOR THE PROSECUTION

Testimonial Evidence

The prosecution presented the following witnesses:

JESURALEM YAO testified that on March 11, 2003, March 12, 2003 and
March 13 , 2003, accused Rufina Manalo and Carina Manalo De Guzman purchased a
total of Three Hundred Forty (340) sacks of rice amounting to Three Hundred Two
Thousand One Hundred Pesos (P302, 100.00) as evidenced by sales invoices. In
payment thereof, the accused Rufina Manalo and Carina Manalo De Guzman
simultaneously issued and delivered Metrobank check with check no. 0151916 post
dated March 27, 2003 in the amount of Fifty Six Thousand Four Hundred Pesos
(P56,400.00) and First E-Bank check with check no. 0130036 post dated April 4, 2003
in the amount of Fifty Six Thousand Four Hundred Pesos (P56, 400.00). When he
depostled the two (2) checks, these were dishonoured by the drawee bank for the reason

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ACCOUNT CLOSED. Demand were made upon the accused Rufina Manalo and
Carina Manalo De Guzman who failed to make good of their bounced checks. The last
demand letter was personally served but it was personally received by Jerry Barcena not
by the herein two accused.

NELIA GOMEZ SAIRES, the office secretary of private complainant


Jerusalem Yao, corroborated the testimony of the latter. She claimed that the
transaction pertaining to the three (3) checks involved both accused. 2

SONIA SERGIO, bank representative of Metrobank, Calamba Branch


testified that accused Carina De Guzman is a depositor in their bank with account no.
007-396-50331-6. The check no. 051916 dated March 27, 2007 was stamped marked
ACCOUNT CLOSED. She does not know whose signature appears at the lower portion
of the subject check.3

Documentary Evidence

The prosecution offered the following exhibits which were admitted by the
Court: (1) Complaint-affidavit as Exhibit A with sub-makings; (2) Sales Invoices
dated March 11, 2003, March 12, 2003 and March 13, 2003 respectively marked as
Exhibits B to D with sub-markings; (3) Metrobank Check with check no. 0151916
dated March 27, 2003 as Exhibit E with sub-markings; (4) First E-Bank check with
check no. 0130036 as Exhibit F with sub-markings; and (5) Demand letter dated April
2, 2004 as Exhibit G with sub-markings.

ISSUE

The issue is whether or not accused Rufina Manalo is guilty as charged.

APPLICABLE LAW

The applicable law is Section 1 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 providing: Checks


without sufficient funds. - Any person who makes or draws and issues any check to
apply on account or for value, knowing at the time of issue that he does not have
sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank for the payment of such check in full
upon its presentment, which check is subsequently dishonored by the drawee bank for
insufficiency of funds or credit or would have been dishonored for the same reason had
not the drawer, without any valid reason, ordered the bank to stop payment, shall be
punished by imprisonment of not less than thirty days but not more than one (1) year or
by a fine of not less than but not more than double the amount of the check which fine
shall in no case exceed Two Hundred Thousand Pesos, or both such fine and
imprisonment at the discretion of the court. The same penalty shall be imposed upon
any person who, having sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank when he
makes or draws and issues a check, shall fail to keep sufficient funds or to maintain a
credit to cover the full amount of the check if presented within a period of ninety (90)
days from the date appearing thereon, for which reason it is dishonored by the drawee
bank. Where the check is drawn by a corporation, company or entity, the person or

2 See TSN dated July 26, 2006, p. 7.


3
See TSN dated October 3, 2007, pp. 5 to 6.

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persons who actually signed the check in behalf of such drawer shall be liable under this
Act.

RULING

For accused Rufina Manalo to be convicted for violation of Batasang Pambansa


Bilang 22, the following elements must be present: (1) the making, drawing and
issuance of any check to apply for account or for 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.4

After a painstaking evaluation of the prosecutions evidence, the foregoing


elements of the offense were not at all sufficiently established.

There is no evidence that accused Rufina Manalo made, issued and drew the
subject checks in question. To quote the testimony of the private complainant Jerusalem
Yao in support of this conclusion:

Atty. Habacon: Can I have the original of the check (counsel paused). So, in other
words, you are claiming to the Honorable Court that you allegedly obtained
possession of this check from the accused without even verifying if Exhibits F-4 and
E-4 are their signature. Is that correct?

Jerusalem Yao: (Witness narrating his answer)

Q: No, No, you just answer the question. You merely relied and you merely assumed
that Exhibit F-4 and Exhibit E-4 were signatures of Rufina Manalo. Is that
correct?

A: (Witness having difficulties to answer the question)

Q: You have been a business man for seven (7) years, eight (8) years, kindly answer
my question, you merely assumed?

A: Yes, Sir.5

xxxx xxxx xxxx

Atty. Habacon: You want to convey to the Honorable Court that Exhibit B was the
signature of Rufina Manalo?

Jerusalem Yao: No, Sir.

Q: Whose signatures were these?

A: Their employees, Sir.6

4Arceo, Jr. vs. People, G.R. No. 142641, July 17, 2006.
5TSN dated November 19, 2005, pp. 16 to 17.
6TSN dated November 19, 2005, p. 19.

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Likewise, it is crystal clear that there was no notice of the dishonour of the
subject bounced checks to accused Rufina Manalo. To be liable for violation of BP No.
22, it must be proved beyond reasonable doubt that accused knew of the insufficiency of
funds at the time the check was issued.7 The non-receipt of a written notice of
dishonour of the checks personally by the accused results to a non determination
when would the five (5) day period provided under Section 2 of BP No. 22 start to end.
Thus the prima facie evidence of knowledge of insufficiency of funds or credit at the
time accused issued the checks did not arise.8 The prosecutions failure to present a
proof that the said accused was actually and personally notified about the dishonour of
the checks, and that she failed within the five (5) banking days from receipt of the notice
of dishonour, to pay the holder of the check the amount thereon or to make
arrangement for its payment is fatal because absent of such proof that the accused
personally received such notice, then the violation of B.P. No. 22 cannot prosper.9 As
held in the case of Lao vs. Court of Appeals10 a notice of dishonor personally sent to and
received by the accused is necessary before one can be held liable under B.P. 22.

However, accused Rufina Manalo should pay the face value of the two (2)
dishonored checks plus legal interest. It is well settled that the civil liability is not
extinguished by acquittal where such acquittal is based on lack of proof beyond
reasonable doubt, since only preponderance of evidence is required in civil cases.11

The rationale behind the award of civil indemnity despite a judgment of acquittal
when evidence is sufficient to sustain the award was explained by the Code Commission
in connection with Art. 29 of the Civil Code, to wit: The old rule that the acquittal of
the accused in a criminal case also releases him from civil liability is one of the most
serious flaws in the Philippine legal system. It has given rise to numberless instances of
miscarriage of justice, where the acquittal was due to a reasonable doubt in the mind of
the court as to the guilt of the accused. The reasoning followed is that inasmuch as the
civil responsibility is derived from the criminal offense, when the latter is not proved,
civil liability cannot be demanded. This is one of those cases where confused thinking
leads to unfortunate and deplorable consequences. Such reasoning fails to draw a clear
line of demarcation between criminal liability and civil responsibility, and to determine
the logical result of the distinction. The two liabilities are separate and distinct from
each other. One affects the social order and the other private rights. One is for
punishment or correction of the offender while the other is for reparation of damages
suffered by the aggrieved party. It is just and proper that for the purposes of
imprisonment of or fine upon the accused, the offense should be proved beyond
reasonable doubt. But for the purpose of indemnifying the complaining party, why
should the offense also be proved beyond reasonable doubt? Is not the invasion or
violation of every private right to be proved only by preponderance of evidence? Is the
right of the aggrieved person any less private because the wrongful act is also punishable
by the criminal law?12

7 Vergara vs. Poeple , G.R. No. 160328, February 4, 2005.


8 Danao vs. CA, G.R. No. 122353, June 6, 2001.
9 Bax vs. People vs. G.R. No. 149858, September 5, 2007.
10 274 SCRA 572.
11 Rico vs. People, G.R. No. 137191, November 18, 2002.

12 Padilla v. Court of Appeals, No. L-39999, 31 May 1984.

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In Hyatt Industrial Manufacturing Corp. vs. Asia Dynamic Electrix Corp. GR No.
163597, July 29, 2005, our Supreme Court declared, Upon filing of the criminal cases
for violation of B.P. 22, the civil action for the recovery of the amount of the checks was
also impliedly instituted under Section 1(b) of Rule 111 of the 2000 Rules on Criminal
Procedure. Under the present revised Rules, the criminal action for violation of B.P. 22
shall be deemed to include the corresponding civil action. The reservation to file a
separate civil action is no longer needed.

DISPOSITIVE PORTION

WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Court finds the accused Rufina


Manalo NOT GUILTY on the ground of reasonable doubt and she is hereby
ACQUITTED of two (2) counts of violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22. However,
she is ordered to pay the private complainant the face value of the two (2) checks in the
total amount of One Hundred Twelve Thousand Eight Hundred Pesos(P112,800.00)
with Twelve percent ( 12%) interest per annum from the date of filing of the
Informations until fully paid.

SO ORDERED.

Pasay City, June 2, 2010.

ELIZA B. YU
Judge

Copy furnished:
ACP John Giselher Imperial
City Prosecutors Office
Hall of Justice, Pasay City

Atty. Remmel Balinbin


Public Attorneys Office
Hall of Justice, Pasay City

Jerusalem Yao
Private Complainant
No. 158 Suerte St., F.B. Harrison St., Pasay City

Rufina Manalo
Accused
Bantayan, Brgy. II, Calamba City