G.R. No. 119178, 20 June 1997
Lim Lim Lao was a junior officer of Premier Investment House in its Binondo branch. She was authorized to sign checks for and in behalf of the corporation. In the course of business, she met Fr. Artelijo Palijo, provincial treasurer of the Society of the Divine Word. Fr. Palijo was authorized to invest donations of the society and had been investing the society’s money with Premiere. Fr. Palijo was issued checks in payment of interest for the society’s investments. The checks were dishonored for “insufficiency of funds.” Fr. Palijo was only able to acquire P5,000 for his efforts in demanding the payment of the checks. Premiere, subsequently, was placed under receivership. Fr. Palijo filed a suit against Lim Lao and his co-signatory, Teodulo Asprec, head of operations for violation of BP 22.
Whether an employee who, as part of her regular duties, signs blank corporate check, be held for violation of BP22.
The checks co-signed by Lim Lao were signed in advance and in blank, delivered to the head of operations, who subsequently filled in the name of he payee, the amounts and corresponding dates of maturity; this procedure followed in keeping with her duties as a junior officer. Though BP 22 provides the presumption that a drawer is knowledgeable of the fact of insufficiency of funds, such presumption may be debunked by contrary evidence. Herein, Lim Lao does not have the power, duty or responsibility to monitor and assess the balances against the issuance, nor to make sure that the checks were funded. Such responsibility devolved upon the corporation’s Treasury Department in Cubao, Quezon City. Furthermore, no notice of dishonor was actually sent or received by Lim Lao to support the prima facie evidence of knowledge of insufficient funds. She was thus acquitted.
*Case digest by Benjie L. Sumalpong, JD-IV, Andres Bonifacio College, SY: 2019-2020