Elvira Yu Oh vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 125297, June 6, 2003, 451 Phil. 380

The complainant Solid Gold International Traders, Inc sued petitioner for issuing check of a closed account. RTC ruled in favor of the complainant. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration alleging that she did not receive any notice of dishonor. The RTC denied the motion. Petitioner appealed to the CA only to suffer the same decision as the RTC. She when to the SC alleging the issue below:

Whether the Notice of Dishonor in BP 22 is indispensable for the case to prosper

Yes, 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. Blg. 22 there should be clear proof of notice. Indeed, this requirement cannot be taken lightly because Section 2 provides for an opportunity for the drawer to effect full payment of the amount appearing on the check, within five banking days from notice of dishonor. The absence of said notice therefore deprives an accused of an opportunity to preclude criminal prosecution. In other words, procedural due process demands that a notice of dishonor be actually served on petitioner. In the case at bar, appellant has a right to demand – and the basic postulate of fairness requires – that the notice of dishonor be actually sent to and received by her to afford her to opportunity to aver prosecution under B.P. Blg. 22.

The Solicitor General contends that notice of dishonor is dispensable in this case considering that the cause of the dishonor of the checks was “Account Closed” and therefore, petitioner already knew that the checks will bounce anyway. This argument has no merit. The Court has decided numerous cases where checks were dishonored for the reason, “Account Closed” and we have explicitly held in said cases that “it is essential for the maker or drawer to be notified of the dishonor of her check, so she could pay the value thereof or make arrangements for its payment within the period prescribed by law” and omission or neglect on the part of the prosecution to prove that the accused received such notice of dishonor is fatal to its cause.

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