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Lina LIM LAO vs. CA & People of the Philippines Sec 102 | Time within which notice must be given Facts: Private complainant Fr. Pelijo, as the provincial secretary of the Society of the Divine Word, invested 514k with Premiere Investment House, wherein Lim Lao worked as a junior officer of the Binondo branch. Fr. Pelijo was issued three postdated Traders Royal Bank checks signed by Lim Lao and Asprec, Premieres head of operations. When Fr. Pelijo presented the checks for encashment, they were dishonored for insufficiency of funds. He first went to the Binondo branch but was referred to the Cubao Main Branch to speak with Premieres president, Mr. Carino. Fr. Pelijo was given 5k, but no other payments followed. Fr. Pelijo then sent a letter of demand to the Cubao branch. Subsequently, Premiere was later on placed under receivership. Fr. Pelijo then filed BP 22 charges against Lim Lao, and Asprec, alleging that Lim Lao issued checks knowing that at the time of issue he did not have sufficient funds. Asprec remained at large while Lim Lao was convicted. Lim Laos conviction was affirmed by the CA. RTC: The makers knowledge of the insufficiency is legally presumed from the dishonor of the check (Sec. 2 BP 22). SC: Sec 2 of BP 22 provides that the making/drawing and issuing of a check which is subsequently refused for insufficiency of funds is prima facie evidence of knowledge of such insufficiency. However, it is not a conclusive presumption and is rebuttable by evidence. She signed the checks without knowledge of the insufficiency of funds, knowledge of which she was not expected to possess under the organizational structure. Lim Lao was often out in the filed as a junior marketing officer. She signed the checks in blank (no payee, no date, no amount) and she did so without knowledge of the insufficiency of funds. It was Asprec who determines to whom to issue the check. The funding of the checks was the sole responsibility of Ms Ocampo of the Treasury Dept. Lim Lao did not have knowledge of the payees identity or the transaction which gave rise to the checks. This was corroborated by Fr. Pelijo testimony wherein he said that he only came to know Lim Lao after the consummation of the transactions. There can be no prima pacie evidence of #2 because no notice of dishonor was actually sent to or received by Lim Lao. Ms. Ocampo testified that she did not forward the information of such dishonor to the Binondo branch because of the financial distress of the corporation. There must be a showing that within 5 banking days from receipt of notice of dishonor that the maker failed to pay the amount due on the check. Without such notice, the accused is necessarily deprived of an opportunity to pay the holder to ultimately preclude criminal prosecution. Related Jurisprudence: Dingle vs IAC. Spouses Paz and Nestor Dingle owned PMD Enterprises. The spouses purportedly issued checks (signed by both Paz and Nestor) to one Ernesto Ang. The checks bounced. They were both held guilty under BP22 but Paz was acquitted because she had no knowledge of the dishonor nor the transactions with Ang. CA: Demand on the corporation is demand on Lina Lim Lao. SC: Premiere has no obligation to forward the notice of dishonor to Lim Lao because the corporation itself incurs no liability itself. Responsibility under BP22 is personal to the accused hence personal notice of dishonor is necessary. CA: Her alleged lack of knowledge or intent to issue a bum check will not exculpate her from responsibility because BP 22 is malum prohibitum. SC: The offense is malum prohibitum but this does not excuse the prosecution from proving beyond reasonable doubt the elements of the offense, especially #2.

Lim Laos Defense (Basically, lack of actual knowledge of fund insufficiency & lack of personal notice of dishonor): 1. She signs the checks in blank since shes mostly in the field. It was Asprec who is responsible for subsequently completing, ultimately issuing and delivering the checks to whoever. 2. She had no knowledge of the actual funds available in the corporate account since this devolved on the Treasury Dept, headed by Ms. Ocampo in the Cubao branch. 3. She never dealt with Fr. Pelijo since he dealt exclusively with one Ms. Lachenal, a trader of the corporation. 4. The notice of dishonor was never sent to Lim Lao in the Binondo branch, but in the Cubao Main Branch, which never forwarded the information to Lim Lao. Ms. Ocampo of the Treasury Dept testified that such act was futile since the main office was already in deep financial distress due to panic withdrawals and massive pretermination in the wake of Ninoys assassination. 5. The receiver prepared a check but it was never claimed by Fr. Pelijo.
Issue: WON the notice of dishonor to the Cubao Main Branch constituted a valid notice to Lim Lao Held: NO. After a decade of imprisonment L, the SC reversed the RTC and CAs decision. She was held not liable under BP 22. Ratio: Penal statutes are strictly construed against the state and liberally in favor of the accused. Lina Lim Laos acts do not come clearly within the spirit and letter of BP 22. The elements of BP22 are: 1. Making/drawing and issuing any check to apply on account or for value 2. Knowledge at the time of issue that he does not have insufficient funds for the payment of the check in full upon presentment (#2) 3. Subsequent dishonor for insufficiency of funds or dishonor for the same reason had not the drawer made a stop payment order