Estafa and Bouncing Checks Law (B.P. 22)

It is inevitable that we will encounter a check at least once in our lifetime. This medium of commerce is still very common despite the proliferation of credit cards. Sadly, with the increase in its use there is also the increase in the number of individuals taking advantage of checks to defraud other people.

For this reason, a provision in a Revised Penal Code was placed to deal with this issue. This law however has defects and deemed insufficient to answer certain situations, thus the Bouncing Checks Law (B.P. 22) was passed into law.

For non-lawyers, these two laws may create confusion because of its highly technical terminologies. As such, I have decided to write this simple guide to aid those who seek more information about estafa and the Bouncing Checks Law (B.P. 22).

BP 22 ph bouncing checks

How is estafa through the issuance of bouncing checks committed?

It is committed by means of any of the following false pretenses or fraudulent acts executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud:

By postdating a check, or issuing a check in payment of an obligation when the offender had no funds in the bank, or his funds deposited therein were not sufficient to cover the amount of the check. (Article 315(2)(d) of the Revised Penal Code as amended by R.A. 4885)

What are the elements of estafa through the issuance of bouncing checks?

This form of estafa has the following elements:

  1. Postdating or issuance of a check in payment of an obligation contracted at the time the check was issued
  2. Insufficiency of funds to cover the check, and
  3. Damage to the payee thereof.

If any of these elements is not present then a person cannot be held liable for estafa.

Marian went to a boutique to shop for clothes. Since she is a friend of the store owner, she was allowed to pay later. After 10 days, Marian issued a check in payment of the clothes she bought. The check bounced to the dismay of the store owner. Can Marian be held liable for estafa?

No. Marian cannot be held liable for estafa because the check was issued in payment of a pre-existing debt. As mentioned earlier, estafa through the issuance of a bouncing check can be committed only if the check was issued in payment of an obligation contracted at the time the check was issued. Note however that while there is no estafa, nevertheless, Marian can be held liable for another crime, which will be discussed below.

Can the issuance of bouncing checks give rise to other offense aside from estafa?

Yes. A single act of issuance of bouncing checks may give rise to several offenses such as estafa and violation of B.P. 22 or the Bouncing Checks Law

How is a violation of the Bouncing Checks Law committed?

There are two possible ways by which this can be committed, to wit:

  1. Making or drawing and issuing 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
  2. 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.

What are the elements of violation of the Bouncing Checks Law?

An offence under this law is committed when the following elements are present:

  1. Making, drawing and issuance of any check to apply for account or for value;
  2. 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. 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.

How can there be presumption that the maker, drawer, or issuer had knowledge of the insufficiency of funds?

The presumption arises only after it is proved that the issuer received a notice of dishonor and that within 5 days from receipt thereof, he failed to pay the amount of the check or make arrangement for its payment.

In the same example given earlier, can Marian be held liable for violation of the Bouncing Checks Law?

Yes, because in Bouncing Checks Law, unlike in estafa under Article 315(2)(d) of the Revised Penal Code a person can be held liable for making, drawing or issuing a check for account or for value. Meaning, even if the check was issued in payment of an existing obligation, the person can still be held liable.

Can Marian use as a defense the fact that there was no malice or bad faith on her part when she issued the check?

No. The law does not consider important whether or not malice and intent attended the issuance of the check.

If Marian pays the check or makes an arrangement for its payment within 5 days from notice of the dishonor, what is the result?

She can use invoke this payment as a complete defense if a case will be filed against her by the store owner.

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33 Comments

  1. …sir we would like to ask about the small claims in the phil. does the brgy. settlement necessary before we file a case in a small claims court? and another is, is it lawful for a brgy. captains to insist not to settle problems between a corporation and a person who belongs to his jurisdiction? (they claimed that it is not anymore part of their duties as brgy.captain).. 
    _thank you! 

  2. Jhona Merioles says:

    Sir, with regards to this case. Which is more appropriate case to sue, is it BP22 or estafa? and as to litigation costs or expenses, which can incur lesser costs? I’ll wait for the reply sir. thank you :)

  3. Jhona Merioles says:

    (sir I can’t register on http://www.jamesbiron.com/forum)

  4. jm garcia says:

    Good day Atty., in relation to your topic here, i just want to ask a question, what is my first move to seek justice when a check is issued to me then its funds are insufficient? I have a friend / business partner in a call center and we do business there, invested 80k to him and he is unreachable at this moment, then we realized that he is gone and deceived his co-workers also, we are at least five who are swindled attty., your response will be very much appreciated.. Thank you..

  5. jm garcia says:

    sorry for posting here but ms. jhona is right, image verification on registration is not completing our reg..ty

    • Atty. James Biron says:

      jm, the images shown are sometimes difficult to read, so you have to retry. i installed this image verification system to prevent spam posts.

  6. Djovi R. Durante says:

    Sir, what would be my recourse if the other party (heir) claims the lot i purchased through deed of absolute sale. The claimant was the son of the previous owner who sold the lot through deed of sale to the administrator who later on sold the same to me.

    • Atty. James Biron says:

      Mr. Durante, please post your question at the Forum Section of this website. I will answer your question once I see it posted there.

  7. mark says:

    dear sir i applied for a globe plan last year but unfortunetly i was not able to pay my bills it has been a year and now i have   receive txt msgs requiring me to pay my bills or else they will file a case against me.

    my question is… will i go to jail if im not able to pay my bills
    what are my options so i will not be bothered by this?
    what legal action can the telecom companies use against me?
    will this affect my credit rating?
    since i dont have money now if i pay my bills lets say after a month will it still be okay? will the charges ( if there is any) be drop?

    thank you i hope you can give me a good advice

     

  8. Dan says:

    I have a case right now, estafa and b.p22. I had a payment for two months amounting to 10k a month. But i stop the payment because she fabricated a case againts me. My questio is, is it possible that the case estafa will be dismiss?  The story of this bouncing checks because she offered me a term before 3days and then when i established my credit, i asked another favor to the manager that i will withdraw my lpg to them but i want the term like the term that i got to other co. Which is 20days. And then the manager gave me the term.  First we had a good relationship as supplier and customer but unfortunately she decline my terms to 15days, and then 10days up to 5 days. I had know knowledge why she did it to me. Considering that my issued checked was cleared. But when my term is already 5days of course my issued checks will be bounce and up to account closed. The reason why because i gave also terms to my customer. I hope you will give me guidelines what to do to my case. Thank you and god bless!

  9. Welmie barcela says:

    Hi,  just want to ask bout my case. Im into jewelry busines and 1 of my dealer tool all the jewelries and pawned it to a known pwnshoP. we filed case to the dealer and   She was captured but had bailed. We are scheduled for an arriegnment but sad to say that dealer run again. And we can no longer find her. Now my Problem is my supplier filed us cass of estafa. Me  and my husband was involved for he is the one who issued the chek for me. I made a seetlement to my suPplier pay her every month to a sum in our capacity to pay. But all of a sudden. my supplier refuse our payments and put all things into court. What is our right action to this? Can we with my husband be in preson? Can we bail? This bothers me a pot for i have to kids. Who would take good care of them without us. Please help.

  10. Tinkle bell says:

    How to erase comments?

  11. Alvin says:

    Hello Atty, I want to ask about my case, what’s the best thing I should do or file? I’m into IT business, my story is this.. This client of mine is we been doing business for almost 4yrs. last Apil 2,2013 she purchase to 1st laptop worth 14,580 and issue me a check due date on May 2,2012 then within the same month she purchase again another unit a Computer Set worth 18,800 the she issue another check due May 14, 2013…and On May 13 she then purchase to me a high-end unit worth 43,700 and issue again a check with a date June 4, 2013… Then I keep on calling her and she won’t answer my call. When I got to see her on her office she said that she simple say WALA PA DAW SIYANG PERA. Then when I called her office today her secretary just answer me wala daw siya sa office parti right now I’m alarm, when I call the bank they told me HInid lang daw ako nag inquiry for that account number. This my 1st time I’ve this kind of scenario.. can you tell me Atty. What is the best thing to do. Kasi parang tinatago-an na ako. Hope to hear your response. Thank you and God Bless

  12. uneasy says:

    Good day, Attorney!
    I would like to ask for opinion on my case…my mother was into lending business, and has borrowed 6 checks from me in collateral to the amount given by her financer. the check asked was blank knowing and believing that it will be returned as soon as the loan transaction is paid.after their transaction with my checks, it was returned lacking 1 pc of it. 4years after the said transaction,1 recently received a demand letter for bp. 22 asking me to settle in the amount of 2.5m in connection with the 1 check not returned to me.please help me on what to do, because the financer clearly knows i don’t owe her anything and what transaction they have was between her and my mother .thank you very much.

  13. cleanne says:

    sir, hello! how could i send my message to you? what should I place sa “recipient” box? thanks! can’t send po kasi yung mail ko sa inyo po.

  14. rexy says:

    Hi Atty. Biron,
    Good day! I just would like to seek your assistance regardng my current dilemna. On year ago, na-approved aku for personal loan with BPI and the monthly amortization would be via Auto debit from my savings account. It was a one year contract and for some reasons, hindi ku na napondohan ung savings account q hanggang one day may letter na dumating sakin from Law firm advising me na isettle ko yung full amount or they will file a case against me. After receiving the said letter, nakipag-coordinate aku with the law firm regarding payment options and unfortunately, was not able to comply with the said agreement. Now ung law firm is nagthreaten ulet that they will file a case SUM OF MONEY against me. What should I do. I have tried talking to the law firm pero I was really disgusted the way they talk to me. I did not issue anything like checks or whatsoever, ang alam ku lang na pinasa ku sknila is the payment agreement na hnd ku naman na comply. Will they use it to file a criminal case against me? Will I be put in jail for this?

    • Atty. James Biron says:

      Hi Rexy, I don’t have a copy of the agreement which you signed so I cannot tell what case will be filed against you. I suggest you settle the amount to avoid going to court.

  15. DONGMAC says:

    HiAtty! I’d like to ask on the process/requirements before someone can be filed a case in the MTC for BP22? Is BP22 a bailable case? Do we need to wait for Warrant of Arrest before bailing? When the party does not want to amicable settle anything we can do more? this is an Bank Loan unpaid.

    • Atty. James Biron says:

      Dongmac, the requirements could be found in the BP 22 law, I suggest you get a copy of the law and read it. Yes it is bailable. Yes you have to wait for that, unless you are already in the custody of law, then you may already file for it. If the other party does not want an amicable settlement then you have to face trial.

  16. Carlo Yabut says:

    I just want to ask what if my friend borrowed checks from me and used them as post dated checks in exchange of money. I was not the one who had the transactions. But when the checks bounced the person who received the bounced check was telling me that he will sue me even if i dont know their transactions. What will i do? Will i go to prison? The checks were issued 4years ago, no demand letter until now.

  17. jpb says:

    Gud day atty! I need your advice regarding my loan in a lending company. Pumunta ako dun to inquire about sa salary loan pinagpasa nila ko requirements and yung kulang to follow nlng daw. They asked me to open a checking acct sa banko nila, then pina pirmahan nila sakin yung mga check at nilagay yung mga date ng pagbayad ko. That time di pa nila sakin na issue yung niloloan ko. Nid ko daw muna ma kumpleto ibang requirements, after a week naisip ko di ko nlng itutuloy ang loan ko kc mataas ang interest, nagulat ako after 2 weeks tinawagan nila ako at sabi na kelanan ko n ipasa yung mga kulang ko. Kc pag d ko ginawa ma chacarge daw ako 5k for cancellation fee. Natakot ako so, tinuloy ko nlng yung loan.
    Last october nag close yung checking acct ko kc d ako aware na holiday pla so d ko nahulugan yung cheke nung araw na yun, tumawag ako sa kanila to inform them at binigyan nila ako ng bdo acct pra dun ko ihulog ang pera. So dun nko lgi naghuhulog, but january and feb d pko nkakahulog sa kanila bec my mom got sick. Pinadalhan nila ko demand letter saying mag fa file sila estafa and criminal case dhil sa bounced check. Pls help me.

    • Atty. James Biron says:

      Good day jpb, get in touch with them and settle your obligation. In that way, you will prevent them from filing a case against you.

  18. LAM says:

    Hi Atty. Biron,
    Just to clarify with regards to bouncing check law and estafa . I was granted a loan at China trust in the year 2007 payable in 36 months which they gave me checks to cover for my monthly amortization meaning they gave me 36 checks which I signed. I started default in paying on the 7th month but still I continued paying even the amount is less than my monthly amortization until today which in fact I already paid my entire obligation and more than pa nga but since I do not have a new arrangement yet I am still paying it, since my account was forwarded already to a collection agency and they kept on threatening me that they will file a case against me cause what they want is for me to pay a huge amount which I am not capable. The agency even use profane language , insults me and even harm my reputation by communicating to anyone here in the office.Can I be sued? Please tell me what to do. I am really worried and depress.Thank you and best regards.

    • Atty. James Biron says:

      Yes, you can be sued but the question whether they have a good case against you. What you have to do is to go directly to the bank, talk to them how you could settle your obligation.

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