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Case Title Lozano vs Martines

G.R. no. L-63419


Main Topic Police Power
Other Related Topic Bill of Rights (Freedom of Contract, Equal Protection)
Date: Dec. 18, 1986

DOCTRINES
1. Police power: valid exercise of police power and not repugnant to constitutional
inhibition against imprisonment for debt. The enactment of BP 22 is a matter of public
policy where the making and issuance pf a worthless check is deemed a public nuisance
that should be imposed with penal sanctions.
2. Freedom of contract is not impaired. Checks cannot be categorized as mere contracts. It is
a commercial instrument which has become a convenient substitute for money.
3. Bill of Rights, equal protection. The case at bar does not deny the equal protection of the
law or is it discriminatory since it penalizes the drawer of the checks, not the payee.
4. Bill of Rights, “no person shall be imprisoned for debt or non-payment of poll tax”.
(nopes!!!!! See **)

FACTS:
For the purpose of resolving the case at car, it is not necessary to delve into the specifics of the
information involved in the cases which are the subject of the petition before us. BP 22 is broad
enough to cover all kinds of checks, whether present dated or postdated, or whether it is issued in
payment of pre-existing obligations of given in mutual or simultaneous exchange for something
of value.

BP 22 punishes those “who makes or draws and issues any check on account or for value,
knowing that at the time of issue that he does not have sufficient funds in or credit with the
drawee bank for the payment of said check in full upon presentment, which check is
subsequently dishonored by the drawee bank for insufficiency of funds or credit and any person
who have sufficient funds with the bank when he issues the check, shall fail to keep sufficient
funds or to maintain a credit to cover the full of the check within a period of 90 days from the
date of the check.

BP 22 is aimed at putting a stop with the practice of issuing checks that are worthless. This
practice causes injury to the public interest. The effect of the issuance of the worthless check
transcends not only those parties directly involved but also the interest of the community at last.
The practice of putting valueless commercial checks in circulation, (multiplied it by thousand
times), can pollute the channels of trade and commerce, injuring the banking system and
eventually hurting the welfare of society and the public interest.

**BP punishes the non-payment of check and not the act of issuing it. Thus, it could be
contented that BP 22 is not counter to the inhibition in the Bill of Rights which states that “no
person shall be imprisoned for debt or non-payment of poll tax”. What BP 22 punishes is the act
of making and issuing of worthless checks. The law punishes is the as an offense against public
order, not against property.

ISSUE:
Whether or not BP 22 is unconstitutional.

HELD:
No, BP 22 is constitutional and it is a valid exercise of police power and is not a constitutional
inhibition against imprisonment of debt.