Monday, August 9, 2010

YU OH vs COURT OF APPEALS GR No. 12597 June 06, 2003

my first digest: on retroactive effect(criminal law I)

Petitioner: Elvira Yu Oh
Respondent(s): Court of Appeals and People of the Philippines

FACTS:

Petitioner purchased pieces of jewelry from Solid Gold International Traders, Inc. Due to her failure to pay the purchase price, the company filed civil cases against her for specific performance before the RTC of Pasig. On September 17, 1990, petitioner and Solid Gold through it general manager, Joaquin Novales III entered into a compromise agreement to settle said civil cases. It was approved by the trial court provided that petitioner shall issue a total of ninety-nine post-dated checks in the amount of PHP 50,000.00 each, dated every 15th and 30th of the month starting October 1, 1990 and the balance of over PHP 1million to be paid in lump sum on November 16, 1994 (the due date of the 99th post dated check). Petitioner then issued ten checks at Php 50,000.00 each for a total of Php 500,000.00 drawn against her account at the Equitable Banking Corporation (EBC). Novales then deposited each of the ten checks on their respective due dates to the company bank account. However, said checks were dishonored by the EBC for the reason “Account Closed”. Dishonor slips were issued for each check that was returned to Novales. On October 5, 1992, Novales filed 10 separate informations before the RTC of Quezon City charging the petitioner with violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22. Upon arraignment, petitioner pleaded not guilty.

Nonetheless, RTC convicted her of ten counts of violation of BP 22. CA affirmed the decision.

ISSUES:
(1)   Whether or not appellate court was mistaken in not granting retroactive effect to RA 7691 in view of Art 22 of the RPC.
(2)   Whether or not “notice of dishonor” is indispensable in this case.

HELD:
(1)   No. RA 7691 is not a penal law and therefore, Art 22 of the RPC does not apply in the present case. A penal law is an act of the legislature that prohibits certain acts and establishes penalties for its violations. It also defines crime, treats of their nature and provides for its punishment. RA 7691 is a law that vests additional jurisdiction on courts, thus, it is substantive. The court further held that it cannot be given retroactive effect.

(2)   Yes. It is necessary that a “notice of dishonor” be received by the issuer and the prosecution has the burden of proving the fact of service. It thus stated in section 2 of BP 22. It is essential for the drawer to be notified of the dishonor of her checks so she could make arrangements for its payment within the period prescribed by law (5 days).

Hence, SC reversed the decision of the CA and acquits the petioner.

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