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SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 125059. March 17, 2000.]

FRANCISCO T. SYCIP, JR. , petitioner, vs . COURT OF APPEALS and


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES , respondents.

Delos Angeles Aguirre Olaguer & Sto. Domingo for petitioner.


The Solicitor General for public respondents.

SYNOPSIS

Petitioner Francisco T. Sycip, Jr. agreed to buy, on installment, from Francel Realty
Corporation (FRC), a townhouse unit in the latter's project at Bacoor, Cavite. Upon
execution of the contract to sell, Sycip, as required, issued to FRC, forty-eight (48)
postdated checks, each in the amount of P9,304.00, covering 48 monthly installments.
After moving in his unit, Sycip complained to FRC regarding defects in the unit and
incomplete features of the townhouse project. FRC ignored the complaint. Dissatisfied,
Sycip served on FRC two (2) notarial notices to the effect that he was suspending is
installment payments on the unit pending compliance with the project plans and
specifications, as approved by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB).
Notwithstanding the notarial notices, FRC continued to present for encashment Sycip's
postdated checks in its possession. Sycip sent "stop payment orders" to the bank. When
FRC continued to present the other postdated checks to the bank as the due date fell, the
bank advised Sycip to close his checking account to avoid paying bank charges every time
he made a "stop payment" order on the forthcoming checks. Due to the closure of
petitioner's checking account, the drawee bank dishonored six postdated checks. FRC
filed a complaint against petitioner for violations of B.P. Blg. 22, the Bouncing Checks Law,
involving said dishonored checks. After trial, petitioner was found guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of violating Section 1 of B.P. Blg. 22. Petitioner appealed to the Court of
Appeals but the appellate court affirmed the decision of the trial court. The appellate court
held that petitioner had no basis to rely on the provision of P.D. 957 to justify the non-
payment of his obligation, the closure of his checking account and the notices sent by him
to private complainant that he will stop paying his monthly amortizations. Petitioner
moved for reconsideration, but was likewise denied. Hence, the present petition. CTHDcE

The Supreme Court reversed and set-aside the decision of the Court of Appeals and
acquitted petitioner of the crime charged. The Court ruled that while B.P. Blg. 22 was
enacted to safeguard the interest of the banking system, protection must also be afforded
the interest of townhouse buyers under P.D. No. 957. A statute must be construed in
relation to other laws so as to carry out the legitimate ends and purposes intended by the
legislature. Courts will not strictly follow the letter of one statute when it leads away from
the true intent of legislature and when ends are inconsistent with the general purpose of
the act. More so, when it will mean the contravention of another valid statute. Both laws
have to be reconciled and given due effect. In the present case, petitioner's exercise of a
statutory right to suspend installment payments granted by P.D. 957 is considered by the
Court a valid defense against his purported violations of B.P. Blg. 22.

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SYLLABUS

1. CRIMINAL LAW; BATAS PAMBANSA BILANG 22; ELEMENTS OF THE CRIME;


KNOWLEDGE ON THE PART OF THE ISSUER AT THE TIME OF THE CHECK'S ISSUANCE
THAT HE DID NOT HAVE ENOUGH FUNDS OR CREDIT IN THE BANK FOR PAYMENT
THEREOF UPON ITS PRESENTMENT NOT ESTABLISHED. Under the provisions of the
Bouncing Checks Law (B.P. No. 22), an offense is committed when the following elements
are 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 such 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, we find
that although the first element of the offense exists, the other elements have not been
established beyond reasonable doubt. To begin with, the second element involves
knowledge on the part of the issuer at the time of the check's issuance that he did not have
enough funds or credit in the bank for payment thereof upon its presentment. B.P. No. 22
creates a presumption juris tantum that the second element prima facie exists when the
first and third elements of the offense are present. But such evidence may be rebutted. If
not rebutted or contradicted, it will suffice to sustain a judgment in favor of the issue,
which it supports. As pointed out by the Solicitor General, such knowledge of the
insufficiency of petitioner's funds "is legally presumed from the dishonor of his checks for
insufficiency of funds." But such presumption cannot hold if there is evidence to the
contrary. In this case, we find that the other party has presented evidence to contradict
said presumption. Hence, the prosecution is duty bound to prove every element of the
offense charged, and not merely rely on a rebuttable presumption. Admittedly, what are
involved here are postdated checks. Postdating simply means that on the date indicated
on its face, the check would issued only then. The checks in this case were issued at the
time of the signing of the Contract to Sell in August 1989. But we find from the records no
showing that the time said checks were issued, petitioner had knowledge that his deposit
or credit in the bank would be insufficient to cover them when presented for encashment.
On the contrary, there is testimony by petitioner that at the time of presentation of the
checks, he had P150,000.00 cash or credit with Citibank.
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; PETITIONER'S EXERCISE OF A STATUTORY RIGHT TO SUSPEND
INSTALLMENT PAYMENTS GRANTED BY SECTION 23 OF PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 957
IS A VALID DEFENSE AGAINST HIS PURPORTED VIOLATIONS OF BATAS PAMBANSA
BILANG 22. While B.P. Blg. 22 was enacted to safeguard the interest of the banking
system, it is difficult to see how conviction of the accused in this case will protect the
sanctity of the financial system. Moreover, protection must also be afforded the interest of
townhouse buyers under P.D. No. 957. A statute must be construed in relation to other
laws so as to carry out the legitimate ends and purposes intended by the legislature.
Courts will not strictly follow the letter of one statute when it leads away from the true
intent of legislature and when ends are inconsistent with the general purpose of the act.
More so, when it will mean the contravention of another valid statute. Both laws have to be
reconciled and given due effect. Note that we have upheld a buyer's reliance on Section 23
of P.D. 957 to suspend payments until such time as the owner or developer had fulfilled its
obligations to the buyer. This exercise of a statutory right to suspend installment
payments, is to our mind, a valid defense against the purported violations of B.P. Blg. 22
that petitioner is charged with. Given the findings of the HLURB as to incomplete features
in the construction of petitioner's and other units of the subject condominium bought on
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installment from FRC, we are of the view that petitioner had a valid cause to order his bank
to stop payment. To say the least, the third element of "subsequent dishonor of the check.
. . without valid cause" appears to us not established by the prosecution. As already stated,
the prosecution tried to establish the crime on a prima facie presumption in B.P. Blg. 22.
Here that presumption is unavailing, in the presence of a valid cause to stop payment,
thereby negating the third element of the crime. Offenses punished by a special law, like
the Bouncing Checks Law, are not subject to the Revised Penal Code, but the Code is
supplementary to such a law. We find nothing in the text of B.P. Blg. 22, which would
prevent the Revised Penal Code from supplementing it. Following Article 11 (5) of the
Revised Penal Code, petitioner's exercise of a right of the buyer under Article 23 of P.D. No.
957 is a valid defense to the charges against him. SaETCI

DECISION

QUISUMBING , J : p

For review on certiorari is the decision of the Court of Appeals, dated February 29, 1996, in
CA-G.R. CR No. 15993, which affirmed the judgment of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon
City, Branch 95, in Criminal Cases Nos. Q-91-25910 to 15, finding petitioner guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of violating B.P. Blg. 22, the Bouncing Checks Law. dctai

The facts in this case, as culled from the records, are as follows:
On August 24, 1989, Francisco T. Sycip agreed to buy, on installment, from Francel Realty
Corporation (FRC), a townhouse unit in the latter's project at Bacoor, Cavite.
Upon execution of the contract to sell, Sycip, as required, issued to FRC, forty-eight (48)
postdated checks, each in the amount of P9,304.00, covering 48 monthly installments.
After moving in his unit, Sycip complained to FRC regarding defects in the unit and
incomplete features of the townhouse project. FRC ignored the complaint. Dissatisfied,
Sycip served on FRC two (2) notarial notices to the effect that he was suspending his
installment payments on the unit pending compliance with the project plans and
specifications, as approved by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB). Sycip
and 12 out of 14 unit buyers then filed a complaint with the HLURB. The complaint was
dismissed as to the defects, but FRC was ordered by the HLURB to finish all incomplete
features of its townhouse project. Sycip appealed the dismissal of the complaint as to the
alleged defects.
Notwithstanding the notarial notices, FRC continued to present for encashment Sycip's
postdated checks in its possession. Sycip sent "stop payment orders" to the bank. When
FRC continued to present the other postdated checks to the bank as the due date fell, the
bank advised Sycip to close his checking account to avoid paying bank charges every time
he made a "stop payment" order on the forthcoming checks. Due to the closure of
petitioner's checking account, the drawee bank dishonored six postdated checks. FRC
filed a complaint against petitioner for violations of B.P. Blg. 22 involving said dishonored
checks.

On November 8, 1991, the Quezon City Prosecutor's Office filed with the RTC of Quezon
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City six Informations docketed as Criminal Cases No. Q-91-25910 to Q-91-25915,
charging petitioner for violation of B.P. Blg. 22.
The accusative portion of the Information in Criminal Case No. Q-91-25910 reads: cdll

"That on or about the 30th day of October 1990 in Quezon City, Philippines and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, did then and
there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously make, draw and issue in favor of
Francel Realty Corporation a check 813514 drawn against Citibank, a duly
established domestic banking institution in the amount of P9,304.00 Philippine
Currency dated/postdated October 30, 1990 in payment of an obligation, knowing
fully well at the time of issue that she/he did not have any funds in the drawee
bank of (sic) the payment of such check; that upon presentation of said check to
said bank for payment, the same was dishonored for the reason that the drawer
thereof, accused Francisco T. Sycip, Jr. did not have any funds therein, and
despite notice of dishonor thereof, accused failed and refused and still fails and
refused (sic) to redeem or make good said check, to the damage and prejudice of
the said Francel Realty Corporation in the amount aforementioned and in such
other amount as may be awarded under the provisions of the Civil Code.

"CONTRARY TO LAW." 1

Criminal Cases No. Q-91-25911 to Q-91-25915, with Informations similarly worded as in


Criminal Case No. Q-91-25910, except for the dates, and check numbers 2 were
consolidated and jointly tried.
When arraigned, petitioner pleaded "Not Guilty" to each of the charges. Trial then
proceeded.
The prosecution's case, as summarized by the trial court and adopted by the appellate
court, is as follows:
"The prosecution evidence established that on or about August 24, 1989, at the
office of the private complainant Francel Realty Corporation (a private domestic
corporation engaged in the real estate business) at 822 Quezon Avenue, QC,
accused Francisco Sycip, Jr. drew, issued, and delivered to private complainant
Francel Realty Corporation (FRC hereinafter) six checks (among a number of
other checks), each for P9,304.00 and drawn pay to the order of FRC and against
Francisco's account no. 845515 with Citibank, to wit: Check No. 813514 dated
October 30, 1990 (Exh. C), Check No. 813515 dated November 30, 1990 (Exh. D),
Check No. 813518 dated February 28, 1991 (Exh. E), Check No. 813516 dated
December 30, 1990 (Exh. F), Check No. 813517 dated January 30, 1991 (Exh. G)
and Check No. 813519 dated March 30, 1991 (Exh. H), as and in partial payment
of the unpaid balance of the purchase price of the house and lot subject of the
written contract executed and entered into by and between FRC as seller and
Francisco as buyer on said date of August 24, 1989 (Exh. B, also Exh. 1). The total
stipulated purchase price for the house and lot was P451,700.00, of which
Francisco paid FRC in the sum of P135,000.00 as down payment, with Francisco
agreeing and committing himself to pay the balance of P316,000.00 in 48 equal
monthly installments of P9,304.00 (which sum already includes interest on
successive monthly balance) effective September 30, 1989 and on the 30th day
of each month thereafter until the stipulated purchase price is paid in full. The
said six Citibank checks, Exhs. C thru H, as earlier indicated were drawn, issued,
and delivered by Francisco in favor of FRC as and in partial payment of the said
48 equal monthly installments under their said contract (Exh. B, also Exh. 1).
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Sometime in September 1989, the Building Official's certificate of occupancy for
the subject house a residential townhouse was issued (Exh. N) and
Francisco took possession and started in the use and occupancy of the subject
house and lot.
"When the subject six checks, Exhs. C thru H, were presented to the Citibank for
payment on their respective due dates, they were all returned to FRC dishonored
and unpaid for the reason: account closed as indicated in the drawee bank's
stamped notations on the face and back of each check; in fact, as indicated in the
corresponding record of Francisco's account no. 815515 with Citibank, said
account already had a zero balance as early as September 14, 1990 (Exh. 1-5).
Notwithstanding the fact that FRC, first thru its executive vice president and
project manager and thereafter thru its counsel, had notified Francisco, orally and
in writing, of the checks' dishonor and demanded from him the payment of the
amount thereof, still Francisco did not pay or make good any of the checks (Exhs.
I thru K). . ." 3

The case for the defense, as summarized also by the trial court and adopted by the Court
of Appeals, is as follows:
"The defense evidence in sum is to the effect that after taking possession and
starting in the use and occupancy of the subject townhouse unit, Francisco
became aware of its various construction defects; that he called the attention of
FRC, thru its project manager, requesting that appropriate measures be forthwith
instituted, but despite his several requests, FRC did not acknowledge, much less
attend to them; that Francisco thus mailed to FRC a verified letter dated June 6,
1990 (Exh. 2) in sum giving notice that effective June 1990, he will cease and
desist 'from paying my monthly amortization of NINE THOUSAND THREE
HUNDRED FOUR (P9,304.00) PESOS towards the settlement of my obligation
concerning my purchase of Unit No. 14 of FRC Townhomes referred to above,
unless and until your Office satisfactorily complete(s) the construction,
renovation and/or repair of my townhouses (sic) unit referred to above' and that
should FRC 'persist in ignoring my aforesaid requests, I shall, after five (5) days
from your receipt of this Verified Notice, forthwith petition the [HLURB] for
Declaratory Relief and Consignation to grant me provisional relief from my
obligation to pay my monthly amortization to your good Office and allow me to
deposit said amortizations with [HLURB] pending your completion of FRC
Townhomes Unit in question'; that Francisco thru counsel wrote FRC, its president,
and its counsel notices/letters in sum to the effect that Francisco and all other
complainants in the [HLURB] case against FRC shall cease and desist from
paying their monthly amortizations unless and until FRC satisfactorily completes
the construction of their units in accordance with the plans and specifications
thereof as approved by the [HLURB] and as warranted by the FRC in their
contracts and that the dishonor of the subject checks was a natural consequence
of such suspension of payments, and also advising FRC not to encash or deposit
all other postdated checks issued by Francisco and the other complainants and
still in FRC's possession (Exhs. 3 thru 5); that Francisco and the other
complainants filed the [HLURB] case against FRC and later on a decision was
handed down therein and the same is pending appeal with the Board (Exhs. 6, 7, &
12 thru 17, also Exh. 8); that as of the time of presentation of the subject checks
for payment by the drawee bank, Francisco had at least P150,000.00 cash or
credit with Citibank (Exhs. 10 & 11) and, that Francisco closed his account no.
845515 with Citibank conformably with the bank's customer service officer's
advice to close his said account instead of making a stop-payment order for each
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of his more than 30 post-dated checks still in FRC's possession at the time, so as
to avoid the P600.00-penalty imposed by the bank for every check subject of a
stop-payment order." 4

On March 11, 1994, the trial court found petitioner guilty of violating Section 1 of B.P. Blg.
22 in each of the six cases, disposing as follows:
"WHEREFORE, in each of Crim. Cases Nos. Q-91-25910, Q-91-25911, Q-91-25912,
Q-91-25913, Q-91-25914 and Q-91-25915, the Court finds accused Francisco T.
Sycip, Jr. guilty beyond reasonable doubt of a violation of Sec. 1 of Batas
Pambansa Blg. 22 and, accordingly, he is hereby sentenced in and for each case
to suffer imprisonment of thirty (30) days and pay the costs. Further, the accused
is hereby ordered to pay the offended party, Francel Realty Corporation, as and for
actual damages, the total sum of fifty-five thousand eight hundred twenty four
pesos (P55,824.00) with interest thereon at the legal rate from date of
commencement of these actions, that is, November 8, 1991, until full payment
thereof. cdasia

"SO ORDERED." 5

Dissatisfied, Sycip appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals. His appeal was
docketed as CA-G.R. CR No. 15993. But on February 29, 1996, the appellate court ruled:
"On the basis of the submission of the People, We find and so hold that appellant
has no basis to rely on the provision of PD 957 to justify the non-payment of his
obligation, the closure of his checking account and the notices sent by him to
private complainant that he will stop paying his monthly amortizations." 6

Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration on March 18, 1996, but it was denied per
Resolution dated April 22, 1996.
Hence, the instant petition anchored on the following assignment of errors:
I
"THE APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE LOWER
COURT FINDING THAT THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT DID NOT HAVE ANY
JUSTIFIABLE CAUSE TO STOP OR OTHERWISE PREVENT THE PAYMENT OF
THE SUBJECT CHECKS BY THE DRAWEE BANK.
II

"THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT


MUST BE DEEMED TO HAVE WAIVED HIS RIGHT TO COMPLAIN AGAINST THE
DEVELOPMENT OF THE TOWNHOUSE UNIT AND THE TOWNHOUSE PROJECT.
III
"THE APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE LOWER
COURT THAT THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT DID NOT HAVE SUFFICIENT FUNDS
WITH THE DRAWEE BANK TO COVER THE SUBJECT CHECKS UPON
PRESENTMENT FOR PAYMENT THEREOF.
IV
"THE APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE LOWER
COURT CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT AND AWARDING DAMAGES IN
FAVOR OF PRIVATE COMPLAINANT." 7
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The principal issue before us is whether or not the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the
conviction of petitioner for violation of the Bouncing Checks Law.

Petitioner argues that the court a quo erred when it affirmed his conviction for violation of
B.P. Blg. 22, considering that he had cause to stop payment of the checks issued to
respondent. Petitioner insists that under P.D. No. 957, the buyer of a townhouse unit has
the right to suspend his amortization payments, should the subdivision or condominium
developer fail to develop or complete the project in accordance with duly-approved plans
and specifications. Given the findings of the HLURB that certain aspects of private
complainant's townhouse project were incomplete and undeveloped, the exercise of his
right to suspend payments should not render him liable under B.P. Blg. 22.
The Solicitor General argues that since what petitioner was charged with were violations of
B.P. Blg. 22, the intent and circumstances surrounding the issuance of a worthless check
are immaterial. 8 The gravamen of the offense charged is the act itself of making and
issuing a worthless check or one that is dishonored upon its presentment for payment.
Mere issuing of a bad check is malum prohibitum, pernicious and inimical to public
welfare. In his view, P.D. No. 957 does not provide petitioner a sufficient defense against
the charges against him.
Under the provisions of the Bouncing Checks Law (B.P. No. 22), 9 an offense is committed
when the following elements are 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 such 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. 1 0

In this case, we find that although the first element of the offense exists the other
elements have not been established beyond reasonable doubt. cdrep

To begin with, the second element involves knowledge on the part of the issuer at the time
of the check's issuance that he did not have enough funds or credit in the bank for
payment thereof upon its presentment. B.P. No. 22 creates a presumption juris tantum
that the second element prima facie exists when the first and third elements of the offense
are present. 11 But such evidence may be rebutted. If not rebutted or contradicted, it will
suffice to sustain a judgment in favor of the issue, which it supports. 12 As pointed out by
the Solicitor General, such knowledge of the insufficiency of petitioner's funds "is legally
presumed from the dishonor of his checks for insufficiency of funds." 13 But such
presumption cannot hold if there is evidence to the contrary. In this case, we find that the
other party has presented evidence to contradict said presumption. Hence, the
prosecution is duty bound to prove every element of the offense charged, and not merely
rely on a rebuttable presumption.
Admittedly, what are involved here are postdated checks. Postdating simply means that
on the date indicated on its face, the check would be properly funded, not that the checks
should be deemed as issued only then. 14 The checks in this case were issued at the time
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of the signing of the Contract to Sell in August 1989. But we find from the records no
showing that the time said checks were issued, petitioner had knowledge that his deposit
or credit in the bank would be insufficient to cover them when presented for encashment.
15 On the contrary, there is testimony by petitioner that at the time of presentation of the
checks, he had P150,000.00 cash or credit with Citibank.
As the evidence for the defense showed, the closure of petitioner's Account No. 845515
with Citibank was not for insufficiency of funds. It was made upon the advice of the
drawee bank, to avoid payment of hefty bank charges each time petitioner issued a "stop
payment" order to prevent encashment of postdated checks in private respondent's
possession. 16 Said evidence contradicts the prima facie presumption of knowledge of
insufficiency of funds. But it establishes petitioner's state of mind at the time said checks
were issued on August 24, 1989. Petitioner definitely had no knowledge that his funds or
credit would be insufficient when the checks would be presented for encashment. He
could not have foreseen that he would be advised by his own bank in the future, to close
his account to avoid paying the hefty banks charges that came with each "stop payment"
order issued to prevent private respondent from encashing the 30 or so checks in its
possession. What the prosecution has established is the closure of petitioner's checking
account. But this does not suffice to prove the second element of the offense under B.P.
Blg. 22, which explicitly requires "evidence of knowledge of insufficient funds" by the
accused at the time the check or checks are presented for encashment.
To rely on the presumption created by B.P. No. 22 as the prosecution did in this case,
would be to misconstrue the import of requirements for conviction under the law. It must
be stressed that every element of the offense must be proved beyond reasonable doubt,
never presumed. Furthermore, penal statutes are strictly construed against the State and
liberally in favor of the accused. Under the Bouncing Checks Law, the punishable act must
come clearly within both the spirit and letter of the statute. 17
While B.P. Blg. 22 was enacted to safeguard the interest of the banking system, 18 it is
difficult to see how conviction of the accused in this case will protect the sanctity of the
financial system. Moreover, protection must also be afforded the interest of townhouse
buyers under P.D. No. 957. 1 9 A statute must be construed in relation to other laws so as
to carry out the legitimate ends and purposes intended by the legislature. 20 Courts will not
strictly follow the letter of one statute when it leads away from the true intent of legislature
and when ends are inconsistent with the general purpose of the act. 21 More so, when it
will mean the contravention of another valid statute . Both laws have to be reconciled and
given due effect.
Note that we have upheld a buyer's reliance on Section 23 of P.D. 957 to suspend
payments until such time as the owner or developer had fulfilled its obligations to the
buyer. 22 This exercise of a statutory right to suspend installment payments, is to our mind,
a valid defense against the purported violations of B.P. Blg. 22 that petitioner is charged
with.
Given the findings of the HLURB as to incomplete features in the construction of
petitioner's and other units of the subject condominium bought on installment from FRC,
we are of the view that petitioner had a valid cause to order his bank to stop payment. To
say the least, the third element of "subsequent dishonor of the check . . . without valid
cause" appears to us not established by the prosecution. As already stated, the
prosecution tried to establish the crime on a prima facie presumption in B.P. Blg. 22. Here
that presumption is unavailing, in the presence of a valid cause to stop payment, thereby
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negating the third element of the crime.
Offenses punished by a special law, like the Bouncing Checks Law, are not subject to the
Revised Penal Code, but the Code is supplementary to such a law. 23 We find nothing in the
text of B.P. Blg. 22, which would prevent the Revised Penal Code from supplementing it.
Following Article 11 (5) 2 4 of the Revised Penal Code, petitioner's exercise of a right of the
buyer under Article 23 of P.D. No. 957 is a valid defense to the charges against him. prcd

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. Petitioner Francisco T. Sycip, Jr., is


ACQUITTED of the charges against him under Batas Pambansa Blg. 22, for lack of
sufficient evidence to prove the offenses charged beyond reasonable doubt. No
pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Bellosillo, Mendoza, Buena and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.
Footnotes

1. Records, p. 1.
2. Id. at 3-12.
3. Rollo, pp. 102-103.
4. Id. at 103-104.
5. Supra Note 1 at 113.
6. Supra Note 3 at 121.
7. Id. at 16.
8. Lazaro v. Court of Appeals, 227 SCRA 723, 726-727 (1993).
9. The pertinent provisions of B.P. Blg. 22 provide:

"SECTION 1. 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 persons
who actually signed the check in behalf of such drawer shall be liable under this Act.
"SECTION 2. Evidence of knowledge of insufficient funds. The making, drawing
and issuance of a check payment of which is refused by the drawee because of
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insufficient funds in or credit with such bank, when presented within ninety (90) days
from the date of the check, shall be prima facie evidence of knowledge of such
insufficiency of funds or credit unless such maker or drawer pays the holder thereof the
amount due thereon, or makes arrangements for payment in full by the drawee of such
check within five (5) banking days after receiving notice that such check has not been
paid by the drawee (Italics supplied).

10. Vaca v. Court of Appeals, 298 SCRA 656, 661 (1998).


11. Magno v. Court of Appeals, 210 SCRA 471, 480 (1992).
12. People v. Nuque, 58 O.G. 8442, 8445.
13. Rollo, p. 272.
14. People v. Tongko, 290 SCRA 595 (1998).
15. TSN, December 1, 1993, pp. 9-14.
16. Supra.
17. Idos v. Court of Appeals, 296 SCRA 194, 202-203 (1998).
18. Magno v. Court of Appeals, supra.
19. "SEC 23. Non-Forfeiture of Payments. No installment payment made by a buyer in a
subdivision or condominium project for the lot or unit he contracted to buy shall be
forfeited in favor of the owner or developer when the buyer, after due notice to the owner
or developer, desists from further payment due to the failure of the owner or developer to
develop the subdivision or condominium project according to the approved plans and
within the time limit for completing the same. Such buyer may, at his option, be
reimbursed the total amount paid including amortization interests but excluding
delinquency interests with interest thereon at the legal rate."
20. King v. Hernaez, 114 Phil. 730, 740 (1962); Mejia v. Balolong, 81 Phil. 497, 501 (1948).
21. Hidalgo v. Hidalgo, supra, Taada v. Cuneco, 103 Phil. 1051, 1086 (1957); Torres v.
Limjap, 56 Phil. 141, 145 (1931); People v. Concepcion, 44 Phil. 126, 130 (1922); US v.
Toribio, 15 Phil. 85, 90 (1910).
22. Antipolo Realty Corp. v. National Housing Authority, 153 SCRA 399, 409, 411 (1987).
23. "ART. 10. Offenses not subject to the provisions of this Code. Offenses which are or
in the future may be punishable under special laws are not subject to the provisions of
this Code. This Code shall be supplementary to such laws, unless the latter should
specially provide the contrary."
24. "ART. 11. Justifying circumstances. The following do not incur any criminal liability:

xxx xxx xxx


5. Any person who acts in the fulfillment of a duty or in the lawful exercise of a right or
office."

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