Respondent Rosalinda Cruz entrusted to petitioner Victoria Villarta seven pieces of jewelry on November1968. On December of the same year, Villarta exchanges one jewelry to another and issued a post-dated check in favor of Cruz. Cruz deposited the check but it was dishonored for lack of funds.

A case fpr estafa was filed against Villarta but she argued that she can only be civilly liable because eventhough the check bounced, she only gave it for a pre-existing obligation. She assets that a person cannot be imprisoned for non-payment of debt.


WON the transaction is a “sale or return”?


The transaction is not a sale or return but a sale on approval or sale on acceptance.

When Cruz gave the jewelry to Villarta on November,  the clear intention is to make the latter choose which item she wanted to buy. There was no meeting of the minds yet at this point and hence, it cannot be considered as delivery.

If ownership over the jewelry was not transmitted on that date, then it could have been transmitted only in December 1968, the date when the check was issued. In which case, it was a “sale on approval” since ownership passed to the buyer Villarta, only when she signified her approval or acceptance to the seller, Cruz,  and the price was agreed upon.

It is still criminal fraud or deceit in the issuance of a check which is made punishable under the Revised Penal Code, and not the non-payment of the debt.

Digest Credit: Mark Alfed Santillan


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