(This is a four-part discussion on Bouncing Checks. See the pages at bottom of post.)
What is the third element, i.e., fact of dishonor?
The introduction in evidence of any “unpaid and dishonored check, having the drawee’s refusal to pay stamped or written thereon, or attached thereto, with the reason therefor as aforesaid, shall be prima facie evidence of the making or issuance of said check, and the due presentment to the drawee for payment and the dishonor thereof, and that the same was properly dishonored for the reason written, stamped, or attached by the drawee on such dishonored check.”
For instance, the prosecution presented the checks which were stamped with the words “ACCOUNT CLOSED,” supported by the returned check tickets issued by the depository bank stating that the checks had been dishonored. The documents constitute prima facie evidence that the drawee bank dishonored the checks, and no evidence was presented to rebut the claim.
Could the same check give rise to a separate charge for estafa?
Yes. Estafa by means of bouncing checks is separately punished under under Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code. An issuer of one worthless check could be separately charged with two offenses.
What are the elements of this kind of estafa?
For a person to be convicted with estafa by issuing a worthless check, the following must be present: (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.
How is this estafa different from BP 22?
The mere issuance of a worthless check is core of BP 22. It doesn’t require deceit or fraud. In estafa, the issuance of the worthless check must be the very reason for the release of the goods or performance of a service (or some other obligation). Deceit must be present, which is why there could be no estafa if the bounced check was issued as payment of a pre-existing obligation (for instance, payment of a past debt or past delivery).
(Sources: Bautista vs. Court of Appeals, Lozano vs. Martinez, Caras vs. Court of Appeals, Bax vs. People, King vs. People, Yulo vs. People)