Jesse Young vs Court of Appeals
453 SCRA 109 – Criminal Law – Special Penal Laws – Bouncing Checks – Demand Letter and Notice of Dishonor
In 1981, an Information was filed against Jesse Young accusing him of issuing a bounced check worth P20k in violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 (BP 22). The private complainant, Ines Uy, alleged that she sent Jesse a demand letter to make good the checks. However, Jesse, in his defense, denied ever receiving said demand letter. Jesse was convicted and his conviction was affirmed by the Court of Appeals.
Jesse now appeals his conviction arguing that he should not be convicted because he never received a demand letter.
ISSUE: Whether or not a person accused of violating Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 may still be convicted even without a demand letter being sent to him.
HELD: Yes. The Supreme Court adopted the ruling of the trial court. BP 22 punishes two acts one of which is the making or drawing and issuing a check knowing at the time of the issuance that he does not have sufficient funds. One element of this is that the issuer must know or must have knowledge of such insufficiency.
Knowledge of insufficiency is a state of mind hence it is difficult to prove. That being, the law requires that in order to establish that the issuer does have knowledge of such insufficiency, a notice of dishonor must be sent to him (the issuer). Once the notice is sent, this gives rise to the presumption that the issuer has knowledge of the insufficiency. The notice need not be in the form of a formal demand letter.
If no notice was sent to the issuer, then the presumption will not rise. But this does not mean that the accused can no longer be prosecuted. The absence of a notice only means that the prosecution will have to prove knowledge of insufficiency in some other ways (use other evidence).
In the case at bar, it was not properly established if Jesse did receive a demand letter or a written notice of dishonor. However, it was undisputed that after the dishonor of the check, Ines telephoned Jesse to inform him of the dishonor. This fact means that Jesse does have knowledge that his account had insufficient funds and he failed to make good the checks within 5 days from notice. Thus, the prosecution was able to establish that Jesse has knowledge of the insufficiency.