Bouncing Checks (B.P. 22)

Some people still have this misplaced confidence in the deterrent effect of Batas Pambansa (BP) Blg. 22, also known as the Bouncing Checks Law (full text here). Here are some things a layman should know:

1. The issuer is not automatically liable simply because the check “bounced”. A check generally “bounces” when dishonored upon presentment (reasons include, account closed, drawn against insufficient funds or DAIF). However, it is indispensable that the issuer must be notified in WRITING about the fact of dishonor, and he has 5 days from receipt to pay the value of the check or make arrangements for the payment thereof. (Please see update on this matter at the Philippine e-Legal Forum).

2. Filing fees are generally not required for criminal cases. For B.P. 22 cases, however, the complainant is required to pay the filing fees (based on the value of the check/s and the damages claimed, just like in civil cases) upon filing of the case in court.

3. One major deterrent against bouncing checks is the threat of a warrant of arrest being issued once the criminal case is filed in court. This is no longer true. No warrant of arrest is issued unless the accused fails to appear when required by the court.

4. Even if a criminal case under B.P. 22 is filed, the court can’t issue a hold-departure order (HDO). All violations of the Bouncing Checks Law, regardless of the amount involved, are filed only with the municipal/metropolitan trial courts. These courts cannot issue an HDO.

5. Courts have the discretion of imposing: (a) imprisonment only; (b) fine only; OR (c) both. It is entirely possible that only a fine, without imprisonment, is imposed.

(See also: Basic Reminders in Preventing Check Fraud)

Comments (143)

  1. Janus

    what if the respondent did not make a reply on the complaint? can he still be arrested by the court? Is it true that the fine to be imposed by the court will be dounle the amount of the check? what is the law or supreme court circular amending BP22 making its penalty lighter? What damages can be alleged in the complaint for BP22? Tnx!

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  2. erick

    I have a long standing loan with a lending company, I had issued 6 post dated checks in 2002. The first three checks were good, but the succeeding 3 were not. The lending institution askd me to issue another set of checks including the interest. I issued another 6 checks. But only the first was good since i was really having a financially difficult time. The amount f each chech was P3,000 plus to cover my loan of P20,000. I went to their office since i received that my case was now in the RTC. The staff was telling me to pay the amoungt of P90,000 to cover the loan, penalty fees and the filinf fee at the RTC. But i dont have P90,000! I asked them if i can pay them monthely of say P2,000 until the time i will be able to pay the entire emount,and that the onle amount i ca raise each month. The staff said, the company did not allow it. I have to pay half whichis around 40,000 and the remaining with its corresponding interest to be paid in 6 months.

    Now they told me just wait for the schedule of arraingment.

    I want to pay them but what they want ia an amount which i am not capable of monthly. I am just a college teahcer and my salary is just right for all my family’s expenses.

    Is there any law where i can use so that i willpay only the smallest possible amount including interest,say double the amount of my loan which is 40,000? or even less so that this problem will be ended.

    please help.

    can i call you at you landline. pls. i need advise. my CP is 09209205413, text me where i can get legal advise.

    thanks. go bless.

    erick

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  3. Atty.Fred

    Erick,
    I’m sorry to hear about your predicament. However, I’m terribly sorry that I can’t give you any legal advice – we are prohibited from doing so in this forum (only legal information). Still, I’m wondering why your case is with the RTC. As discussed in the article, it is filed with the MTC (not the RTC). For contact details, please see http://www.jlp-law.com.

    Janus,
    There’s no Supreme Court circular that makes the penalty lighter. Besides, the SC can’t do that. Your question on arrest warrant is discussed in the article.

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  4. divine

    hello ,

    i jaz wanna ask . the live -in partner (P) of my mother borrowed my ATM card and eversince he (P) is the one using it.lately, i received a brgy complaint for estafa claiming that ( P) used my ATM for his alledged victim to deposit payment (3x) for their transaction claiming that my said ATM belongs to somebody from a certain office where (p)claimed he is connected with .

    my question is , upon reviewing the ATM’s rules and regulation it says there …..that any withdrawal using my ATM with my PIN is presumed authorized by me. am i libale or accessory to the crime of estafa??????. wat can i do? i have nothing to do with the money or der transaction. pls enligthen me.

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  5. AttyatWork (Post author)

    Divine, I had a hard time trying to understand your story. As you can read from the previous comment, I’m not allowed to comment on your case or give legal advice.

    As to the ATM rules you mentioned, it’s only logical because an ATM is supposed to be used by the cardholder. If it’s lost or there are unauthorized transactions, the cardholder is supposed to report and substantiate such fact. In my previous work with banks, complaints about alleged unauthorized ATM transactions are numerous and these provisions are meant to protect banks against unnecessary loses.

    Estafa is governed by the Revised Penal Code, which requires participation and, generally, intent on the part of the alleged perpetrator. There should be no liability if there’s no participation. On the other hand, there are provisions which provide for presumptions, but presumptions are contradicted by contrary evidence. As to how these matters apply to your case, you should discuss that with your lawyer.

    Good luck.

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  6. giselle

    Hi! I was issued a bouncing check and when i first contacted the issuer she said she would pay for the amount or return the items she bought. She asked for us to wait for 2 weeks. The checks were from the account of her husband and is worth a little less than 40k. 2 weeks have lapsed and I have tried contacting her through her cell, etc to no avail. I have also sent her a text that I would file a BP22 should she not reply which she hasnt. She obviously has the money to pay since she owns two grocery stores. I am already really tired trying to contact her. Can I send her the written notice through her store and have it received by any of her employees or does it have to be persnally received by her? Can I file the BP22 through the fiscal’s office? and is there payment for that? How much can I expect to pay for legal fees for this matter? How do I formally let the barangay know of their bounced check? and is that a requirement or just an option? I really do not have the money to spare right now for huge legal expenses. Your help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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  7. AttyatWork (Post author)

    Giselle, a complaint for BP 22 is filed with the fiscal’s office and there’s a minimal filing fee. There’s another fee once the public prosecutor resolves to file (and files) the case in court. As to the notice requirement, please follow the link provided in the article. Thanks.

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  8. Paul

    May I know whatis the prescription period for bouncing checks? Should the checkwas issued more than 4 years ago, could i not file bp 22 against the issuer of the check because it is already deemed prescribed?

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  9. AttyatWork (Post author)

    Paul, if my memory serves me right, yes, it is 4 years. Please note, however, that prescriptive periods are usually counted from the date that the cause of action accrues – for B.P. 22, would you agree with me that it’s not the date of issuance?

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  10. Jenn

    Greetings! Im really delighted that I found this site. It seems that all the questions that are bugging my mind lately. found their match! If I havent read this I should have paid my lawyer 25,000 for an acceptance fee. She told me I have already a warrant of arrest so i have to pay her immediately and so they can get the case started, when I only received a note that said “RESOLUTION” and not even a subpoena or whatever you spell that. Anyway I did not issue a check my friend’s boss borrowed it and put 227,000 amount on it. PAO lawyers can’t accept this they say amount is quite big so im really happy i found this site. I’ll save money then I will sue this Lady soon Big Time :)

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  11. manuel jaime

    Dear Atty,

    I tried to renew my NBI and I was told I had a hit. I know that I had a bounched check problem. Should I get ready with a Bail Bond right away when I check the details of my problem at the main office of NBI. If yes, about how much. I owe the lending institution P80,000.00.

    Thank you for your attention

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  12. iban

    dear sir:
    good day atty. ! april of 2004 i entered into a an amnesty agreement with union bank for my credit card bill amounting to 40,000 including interest. They required me to open a checking account and issue like 18 post dated checks with an amount of 2000 php.the first check i issued was the only on i was able to fund but it was insufficient according to the bank since it was delayed. i promised the collection agency i would try to settle the amount but was unsuccessful.i went to the bank personally and said i wanted to close my account. but im not sure if they did close my account. all the post dated checks i issued were not returned to me the day i went to the bank to close my account and until then i havent been able to fund those.how do i know if my account has been closed? will the bank automatically close an account once it is unfunded? will they still continue to deposit the post dated checks i made? will this be ground for filing a b.p.22 case against me? pls help atty. thanks and god bless!

    ms. moonlight79

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  13. liza

    Dear atty,

    A friend had used my name as co-maker and due to that I learned that I am guilty of BP 22 way back in August 2001,for my loan balance amounting to P6,000.00. I was able to talk to her in front of the fiscal but we were not able to come up for agreement. On the 3rd meeting the fiscal did not come and afterwards I have learned that the case was not already his.Because I resigned from my previous employer, I have not receive any advise for arraignment. My mother talked to the accused but she did not give any detail, wethought that she had already forgiven me since balance left is less that 5,000. I found out that that there’s a court decision issued in 042002. I only learned this 2007. We have talked to the creditor she demand for Thirty Five Thousand, to avoid inconvenience I issued checks which were all good. To be sure that she will comply with the agreement , we decided to replaced the last check by cash.
    She received the cash but did not sign the Affidavit desistance and cert of full payment and now demnded for additional P35,000.00.

    She told us that she still have checks with her amounting to P15,000.00 checks which were not returned to us.
    These checks were dated 1998 to 2001. Can she still use it for me, although I know the checks prescription is 4 years.
    but because I have already convicted with BP22 w/c now in archive can she revive it, even I have paid her already P35,000.00, but the way the accused had used only P4,000.00 (p2,000.00) in filing the case.

    I need your advise

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  14. Janus

    Sir, the BP22 case was already filed in court, however, the police officers who are serving the summon cannot locate the accused because she is hiding. Her children and some family members (who are already of age) refused to received the summon. The police officers return the summon to court with that report, thus the court did not acquire jurisdiction. What action should i make? what if the police officers just leave the summon to her family member (but did not sign), is there’s compliance and can the court acquire jurisdiction?

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  15. wilson

    A customer of mine ordered goods and issued two checks as payments after delivery. the checks thereafter bounced. I made verbal demands over the phone and went to her house but only the maids talked to me. I sent her a demand letter by registered mail and I received the return card though not signed by the addressee herself. I filed a BP 22 case at the fiscal but it was dismissed based on mere denial of receipt of the demand letter by the defendant as against the return card I received to prove that her agent received the demand letter for her. Should the return card be signed only by the addressee herself for the demand to be valid? I cannot serve the demand letter personally coz she doesn’t want to meet me. What if she always makes other people sign the return card and make that as an excuse to evade her liability, will I not have any remedy at all? tnx.

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