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).

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

Author: Atty. James Biron
Atty. James S. Biron is a corporate lawyer specializing in foreign investments, trade, mergers and acquisitions, planning and financing of projects and capital raising. Clients served include real estate, construction, energy, information technology, agriculture, education, medical and casino gaming companies.


  • Magandang umaga po Atty. James Biron, I am from Lanao del Norte. I just want to refer something. May nag issue po ng check as guarantee of payments in a lending firm. Now, the check owner is gone and move out to place na hindi na kayang puntahan ng lending company, hindi na rin sila makapagpadala ng notice of dishonor kasi wala pong exact address and nilipatan ng client.

    Ngayon, maari kayang dawitin ang co-maker doon sa check issued ng client thru filing of BP22 or don lang talaga sa collection case at small claims court?

  • Dez

    Good evening Atty Biron, hope you are well po. I would just like to seek legal advise from you. May nareceive po akong warrant of arrest thru Viber forwarded by a collections officer for BP 22 last week. Inaadvise po nya na bayaran ko ung 18, 000 bail para di daw po nya ako ipadampot sa police. The warrant po is dated November 17, 2016 and just sent it to me last week. It was signed by judge. I just want to ask if possible po ba na sinend thru viber and the date was issued last year pero last week nya lang po sinend and I never received any court hearing or summons prior to the warrant. I hope you can assist me po. Thank you Atty.

  • Mai

    Good evening po.ask lng po may nareceive po kasi akong letter from prosecutor office ng paranaque indicating na nagviolate daw po ako ng pambansang batas blg22. Mga nov. Pa po ata nagfile ng complaint against me kaso now ko lng po nareceive ung letter. Anu po kaya pwede kong gawin?i didn’t receive any notice before regarding this.
    Thank you

  • Florida C.

    Good day po Atty. ask ko lang po pano po ba gagawin ko. Nag apply po ako ng car loan payable in 5 years. Nag issue po ako ng checke at 2 payments na po diko na deposituhan kasi wala na po akong pambayad. Pano po magandang gawin. Thank u po

  • MJ

    Gud am po attorney.pag my warrant of arrest ka po b issued february 2017 at nagapply po ako ng nbi clearnce ng april 2017 my record n po b un s nbi clrearance ko? Pls rply.tnx

  • Dave Alano

    Good day Atty.

    Thank you for this informative article! Really helped a struggling law student like me. :’)

  • Ernie

    Good day atty.

    Tanong ko ko lang po kung anu dapat gawin
    May nag issue po sa akin ng cheke closed account po 25k po..salamat

  • Cristina Joyce G.

    Hi po.ask ko lang po.may utang kmi s isang lending agency..ang utang namin ay 75k balik for 1yr ay 130k.nakabayad n po kami ng 138k.kzo 2yrs po nmin nabayaran naloko po kami ng travel agency dto n nag paalis sa asawa.ang kinuhang placement fee ay 65k.aang sinasahod nya lng po dun ay 20k.kya po d nmin na atubilihan ung monthly amortization nmin s lending.kya lumaki ng lumaki ang my utang parin kming 80k s d n nmin kayang bayaran..nkikipag usap n aq n tanggalin nlng nila ung penalty kz po sabi nila 4months nlng utang nmin.n my halagang 42k..ayaw po nilang pumayag at nanakot sila n mag sasampa sila ng kzong bp.22 estafa dhl my chequeng issue dun..ano po dpt kong gawin.ganung s loob ng 2yrs ng asawa q dun..wla po kming naipundar dhl nabaon kmi s utang s lending.

  • Julius a.

    Good day po!!
    May isinampa na po sa akin na kaso bp22 sa MTC and stafa sa RTC sa kasong 22 counts of bouncing check amount of 108,000 sa lending firm. Binabayaran ko na po ung 108,000 thru may boss pero ayaw nlang pumayag kc ang gusto nla ay 320,000 pinatungan nla may interest na daw.
    Ano po ba ang dapat kong gawin kc un lang po talaga ang pera ko.thanks po

  • Jake

    Good day po Atty. Biron, I hope you are well. I would like to seek for your legal advise. I just came from NBI to claim my clearance today and I was instructed to go to Quality Control. From there the lady I spoke with informed me that a case was filed against me prior to violation of BP22. To my understanding from her notes the said case was filed last Dec 7, 2016. I never receive any letter prior to the said case violating BP22 court hearing/summon or any information before this day. The lady told me that I have to coordinate with the RTC and make some arrangements to clear what is need. I’m clueless on this and would like to get your best advise and help.

    Thank you Atty.

  • yen

    hi atty.

    i got a loan from a lending and i received 2 notice of dishonor last year. however the collection agency went to my home and we agreed to have a compromise agreement. i thought that should be ok now. i made same lapses on payments but i see to it to pay the unsettled bill as soon as i have an ample money. then now i received a court order stating that no one received the arraignment letter and i have a bail to pay. truly, i dont received any letter from them. it also shows that my case will be put into archive until i put a reinstatement in case of apprehension. what would be the steps that i need to do? should i contact the lending company first to ask why the case has been pushed through or go directly to the court? can this still be dismissed?

    thank you and more power.

  • Anonymous

    Good am po.Atty ask ko lamg po,nag issue po ako ng 71900 na cheke para sa bayad sa supplier ko ng bigas,pero nagbounce dhil bigla kami nagkaproblema ng asawa ko bumagsak ang negosyo namin at naka aksidente kmi sa kalsada.Walang wala na po kami,nakikiusap po kami sa supplier namin na baka pwede na magbayad kami pa unti unti dhil bagsak na bagsak kami.ayaw nya po pumayag,nagbigay sya ng due date pero wala po kami maiibayad tlga na full payment,sabi nya kakasuhan daw nya kami.Makukulong po ba ako pag kinasuhan nya kami

  • Mican

    Hi good evening sir! Tanong lang po kasi yung tito ko is nang hiram ng pera then nag issue ng mga checke in repayment for 1 year then lahat nag bounce amounting to more or less 1million in total. pano kaya magandang mangyare para mabawi yung pera kasi obviously they have the means to repay kakabili nga lang ng mercedes benz!! Baka iniisip kasi na dahil kamag anak naman e iddisregard na nila yung pag bayad ng pera na hiniram nila. advise lang sir ano pwede gawin kasi bakausap na namin sila e matigas pa sa bato na parang walang nangyare. ngayon we are willing to make legal actions against them already.


  • Ren

    Hi sir,

    May tumawag po sa akin sa dati ko na naloan from private lenders and I have 4 post dated checks na ngbounce with a total of 24k. Ngaun tumawag cla sa mga reference ko saying na kpag d ako umattend ng hearing eh warrant of arrest na sunod. And they even saying na may 1st hearing na kami at d ako nakaatend. Pero in fact sir wala nman ako letter na nareceive na may hearing na pala ko. And they even saying na masisira daw ako dhil magkakaroon ako ng record sa nbi. Should i wait for the summon? Please advise. Thanks

  • Eva

    Hello po. Dito po ako sa HK ngayon nag wo work. May BP 22 case po ako sa pinas kasi yung first amo ko is minaltrato po ako at nawalan po ako ng trabaho. Nag one year na po yung utang ko sa lending. Yung nakuha ko na pera sa lending pinambayad ko po yun sa agency pero yung nanay ko po nag aatend po sya palagi sa hearing sa court. Ngayon po balak kong mag work sa spain at kelangan kong kumuha ng nbi clearance. Magkakaroon po ba ako ng record sa nbi clearance ko?, on going pa po yung bp22 case ko sa court. Salamat po sa pagsagot

  • Cheery T.

    Gudpm atty…tanong q lg po kac ung husband q nag comaker sa sister q sa lending company tpoz laging late ung payment tuamaas na yong interest tpos minsan ung binabayad namin sa interset na pumupunta tpoz nung nbayran na nmin ung principal nd na ya binayaran ngaun denimanda sya my noyice of arraibnment na ung husband q tpoz violation of bpp 22 daw eh my 2 payment daw kmi na binayran na gmit ung checke na closed account wala nmn kmi naishong cheke cash nmn bnabyad nmin sa kanila at bakit ung kapatid q ang dinimanda nla co maker lg nmn sya bat nd ung kapatid q.ung arraignment sa aug 2 tpoz pinapasa kmi ng affidavit eh wala dgo ang husband q anu po ba dapt gawin atty?…pls reply…tnx

  • Teresita d.

    Gud am po. Tanung ko lng po kng may bail po ang bp 22

  • Harry

    Good day. Ask ko lang po may cash loan po ako with one of the banks in the philippines. And i believe i was not able to pay my monthly due already. And know i need to get NBI Clearance. I just wanted to ask my record na po ba yun ,? Is that a criminal decord already? Since before i received several mails from courts.
    Thank you

  • RJ M.

    Hi Atty Biron,

    I would like to seek professional help from you. How do I contact you?

    Thank you.

  • RM

    Hello Atty,

    Need your help please.

    I had loans with a lending company back in 2010 and had pending obligations.

    I aplied for NBI clearance montha ago and had a hit and since then I have not checked what the hit was. It could be the bouncing checks I had used.

    Questions-Can I go directly to the lending company and settle it? Or will they refer me to the collections company or to the court?

    I am lost on how to proceed as I badly need the NBI clearance for a job offer.

    Thank you in advance.

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