People v. Wagas

G.R. No. 157943, 4 September 2013

FACTS:

Wagas was charged with estafa for issuing a postdated check in the amount of ₱200,000.00, which check was issued in payment of an obligation for 200 bags of rice, but which check when presented for encashment with the bank, was dishonored for the reason “drawn against insufficient funds” and inspite of notice and several demands made upon said accused to make good said check or replace the same with cash, he had failed and refused and up to the present time still fails and refuses to do so, to the damage and prejudice of Alberto Ligaray in the amount aforestated.

On cross-examination, Ligaray admitted that he did not personally meet Wagas because they transacted through telephone only; that he released the 200 bags of rice directly to Robert Cañada, the brother-in-law of Wagas, who signed the delivery receipt upon receiving the rice. In his defense, Wagas himself testified.

He admitted having issued BPI Check No. 0011003 to Cañada, his brother-in-law, not to Ligaray. He denied having any telephone conversation or any dealings with Ligaray. He explained that the check was intended as payment for a portion of Cañada’s property that he wanted to buy, but when the sale did not push through, he did not anymore fund the check.

ISSUE:

Whether or not Respondent Wagas is liable on the postdated check that he had issued.

RULING:

Yes, Wagas as the admitted drawer of the check was legally liable to pay the amount of it to Ligaray, a holder in due course. The check delivered to Ligaray was made payable to cash. Under the Negotiable Instruments Law, this type of check was payable to the bearer and could be negotiated by mere delivery without the need of an indorsement.

This rendered it highly probable that Wagas had issued the check not to Ligaray, but to somebody else like Cañada, his brother-in-law, who then negotiated it to Ligaray. Relevantly, Ligaray confirmed that he did not himself see or meet Wagas at the time of the transaction and thereafter, and expressly stated that the person who signed for and received the stocks of rice was Cañada. Consequently, we pronounce and hold him fully liable to pay the amount of the dishonored check, plus legal interest of 6% per annum from the finality of this decision.

*Case Digest by Radolf Zell L. Adasa, JD – 4, Andres Bonifacio College, SY 2019 – 2020

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