G.R. No. L-36549, 5 October 1988
Private respondents asked the petitioner to extend an accommodation loan in the sum of P4,500.00.
Respondents delivered to the petitioner a check for P4,500.00, drawn by Dy Hian Tat, and signed by them at the back of said check, with the assurance that after one month from September 13, 1960, the said check would be redeemed by them by paying cash in the sum of P4,500.00, or the said check can be presented for payment on or immediately after one month. Petitioner agreed and extended an accommodation loan.
The aforesaid check was presented for payment to the China Banking Corporation, but said check bounced and was not cashed by said bank, for the reason that the current account of the drawer thereof had already been closed.
Petitioner demanded payment from the private but the latter failed and refused to pay notwithstanding repeated demands. Both private respondents raised the defense that both have been wholly discharged by delay in presentment of the check for payment. The Lower Court ruled in favor of the petitioner.
However, this was reversed by the CA upon appeal by the respondents, ruling that the check was not given as collateral to guarantee a loan secured since the check passed through other hands before reaching the petitioner and the said check was not presented within a reasonable time. Hence this petition.
Petitioner argues that presentment for payment and notice of dishonor are not necessary as when funds are insufficient to meet a check, thus the drawer is liable, whether such presentment and notice be totally omitted or merely delayed.
1. Whether or not presentment for payment can be dispensed with
2. Whether or not presentment for payment and notice of dishonor of the questioned check were made within reasonable time
1. No. Where the instrument is not payable on demand, presentment must be made on the day it falls due.
Where it is payable on demand, presentment must be made within a reasonable time after issue, except that in the case of a bill of exchange, presentment for payment will be sufficient if made within a reasonable time after the last negotiation thereof (Section 71, Negotiable Instruments Law).
2. No. It is obvious in this case that presentment and notice of dishonor were not made within a reasonable time.
“Reasonable time” has been defined as so much time as is necessary under the circumstances for a reasonable prudent and diligent man to do, conveniently, what the contract or duty requires should be done, having a regard for the rights, and possibility of loss, if any, to the other party (Citizens’ Bank Bldg. v. L & E. Wertheirmer 189 S.W. 361, 362, 126 Ark, 38, Ann. Cas. 1917 E, 520).
Notice may be given as soon as the instrument is dishonored; and unless delay is excused must be given within the time fixed by the law (Section 102, Negotiable Instruments Law).
In the instant case, the check in question was issued on September 13, 1960, but was presented to the drawee bank only on March 5, 1964, and dishonored on the same date. After dishonor by the drawee bank, a formal notice of dishonor was made by the petitioner through a letter dated April 27, 1968.
Under these circumstances, the petitioner undoubtedly failed to exercise prudence and diligence on what he ought to do al. required by law. The petitioner likewise failed to show any justification for the unreasonable delay.
No hard and fast demarcation line can be drawn between what may be considered as a reasonable or an unreasonable time, because “reasonable time” depends upon the peculiar facts and circumstances in each case (Tolentino, Commentaries and Jurisprudence on Commercial Laws of the Philippines, Vol. I, Eighth Edition, p. 327).
*Case digest by April Rose B. Tuanda, JD-IV, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2019-2020