G.R. No. 125297: June 6 2003: 451 Phil. 380
Offense Involved: Violation of B.P. Blg. 22
FACTS: Elvira Yu Oh bought jewelry from private respondent, Solid Gold International Traders but failed to pay purchase price. The parties then entered into a compromise agreement whereby petitioner was to issue ninety-nine postdated checks amounting to P50,000 each to be deposited every 15th and 30th of the month from October 1990 to November 16, 1994. Petitioner issued 10 checks amounting to P50,000 each, drawn against her account in Equitable Banking Corporation. However, when the manager deposited the checks with Far East Bank and Trust Company, the checks were dishonored as the account was already closed. This prompted the private respondent to file a complaint for B.P. 22. RTC rendered a decision finding the accused guilty of ten counts of violation of B.P. Blg. 22. Petitioner appealed to the CA but it found it to be of no merit and affirmed the RTC’s decision. Hence, this case.
- Whether or not the appellate court erred in convicting petitioner of ten counts of B.P. 22?
- Whether or not the appellate erred in not giving retroactive effect to R.A. 7690 in view of Article 22 of the RPC?
- Yes. The appellate court erred in convicting petitioner of ten counts of B.P 22. The liability of the petitioner was not established because the prosection was not able to present the notice of dishonor to the drawer. In cases for violation of B.P. Blg. 22, it is necessary that the prosecution prove that the issuer had received a notice of dishonor. Since service of notice is an issue, the person alleging that the notice was served must prove the fact of service. Basic also is the doctrine that in criminal cases, the quantum of proof required is proof beyond reasonable doubt. Hence, for cases of B.P.. 22 there should be clear proof of notice.
- No. The appellate court did not err in not giving retroactive effect to R.A. 7690 in view of Article 22 of the RPC. Article 22 of the Revised Penal Code finds no application to the case at bar. A penal law, is an act of the legislature that prohibits certain acts and establishes penalties for its violations. It also defines crime, treats of its nature and provides for its punishment. R.A. No. 7691 does not prohibit certain acts or provides penalties for its violation; neither does it treat of the nature of crimes and its punishment. Consequently, R.A. No. 7691 is not a penal law, and therefore, Art. 22 of the RPC does not apply in the present case. R.A. No. 7691 which took effect on June 15, 1994, amended B.P. Blg. 129, and vested on the Metropolitan, Municipal and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts jurisdiction to try cases punishable by imprisonment of not more than six (6) years. Since R.A. No. 7691 vests jurisdiction on courts, it is apparent that said law is substantive. Jurisdiction is determined by the law in force at the time of the filing of the complaint, and once acquired, jurisdiction is not affected by subsequent legislative enactments placing jurisdiction in another tribunal; in this case, the RTC was vested with jurisdiction to try petitioner’s cases when the same were filed in October 1992; at that time, R.A. No. 7691 was not yet effective. In so far as the retroactive effect of R.A. No. 7691 is concerned, that same is limited only to pending civil cases that have not reached pre-trial stage as provided for in Section 7 thereof.