I am engaged in the business of selling aquarium tanks. A client of mine who purchased a 500 gallon aquarium from my shop issued a post-dated check as payment. However, the check was refused by the bank due to insufficient funds. I am now considering filing a complaint for estafa and violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 simultaneously. Is this legally possible?
Yes, the simultaneous deposit of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 (BP 22) and Estafa case is possible. In the Peter Nierras case against the Hon. Dacuycuy (GR Nos. 59568-76, January 11, 1990), the Supreme Court, through the intermediary of the former deputy judge Edgardo Paras, established the differences between BP 22 and Estafa, namely:
“What the petitioner failed to mention in his argument is the fact that deception and damage are essential elements of Article 315 (2-d) of the revised Criminal Code, but are not required in the Batas Pambansa Bilang 22. Under the latter law, the mere issuance of a check which is refused gives rise to the presumption of knowledge on the part of the drawer that it has issued the same without sufficient funds and therefore punishable (People v Veridiano, 132 SCRA 523) which is not the case under the Penal Code. Other differences between the two also include the following: (1) a drawer of a refused check can be convicted under Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 even if he had issued it for a pre-existing obligation, while under Article 315 (2-d) of the revised Penal Code such circumstances deny criminal responsibility; (2) specific and different sanctions are imposed for each of the two offenses; (3) estafa is essentially a c rhyme against property, while the violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 is mainly a crime against the public in the interest because it harms the whole banking system; (4) violations of article 315 of the revised Penal Code are mala in se, while those of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 are mala prohibita.
In addition, in the Leonora Rimando vs Spouses Aldaba and People case (GR 203583, October 13, 2014), the Supreme Court, through Deputy Judge Estela Perlas-Bernabe, explained, namely:
“Essentially, while a BP 22 case and an estafa case may be based on an identical set of facts, they nonetheless present different causes of action, which under the law are considered” separate, distinct and independent. ” one of the other. Consequently, the two cases can proceed to their final judgment – both on their criminal and civil aspects – subject to the prohibition of double recovery. ‘a related estafa case, as in the present case. “
Thus, the filing of two sets of information for BP 22 and estafa is not prohibited.
We hope we have been able to answer your questions. This advice is based solely on the facts you have related and our assessment of them. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or developed.
Editor’s Note: Dear PAO is a daily column for the Public Prosecutor’s Office. Questions for Chef Acosta can be sent to [emailÂ protected]