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Cecilio de Villa vs. CA [G.R. No. 87416. April 08, 1991]

15 Aug

Ponente: PARAS, J.

FACTS:

[P]etitioner Cecilio S. de Villa was charged before the Regional Trial Court of the National Capital Judicial Region (Makati, Branch 145) with violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22. Petitioner moved to dismiss the Information on the following grounds: (a) Respondent court has no jurisdiction over the offense charged; and (b) That no offense was committed since the check involved was payable in dollars, hence, the obligation created is null and void pursuant to Republic Act No. 529 (An Act to Assure Uniform Value of Philippine Coin and Currency). A petition for certiorari seeking to declare the nullity of the RTC ruling was filed by the petitioner in the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals dismissed the petition with costs against the petitioner. A motion for reconsideration of the said decision was filed by the petitioner but the same was denied by the Court of Appeals, thus elevated to the Supreme Court.

ISSUES:

Whether or not:

(1)   The Regional Trial Court of Makati City has jurisdiction over the case; and,

(2)   The check in question, drawn against the dollar account of petitioner with a foreign bank, is covered by the Bouncing Checks Law (B.P. Blg. 22).

HELD:

YES on both cases. Petition was dismissed for lack of merit.

RATIO:

For the first issue: The trial court’s jurisdiction over the case, subject of this review, can not be questioned, as Sections 10 and 15(a), Rule 110 of the Rules of Court specifically provide. The information under consideration specifically alleged that the offense was committed in Makati, Metro Manila and therefore, the same is controlling and sufficient to vest jurisdiction upon the Regional Trial Court of Makati. The Court acquires jurisdiction over the case and over the person of the accused upon the filing of a complaint or information in court which initiates a criminal action (Republic vs. Sunga, 162 SCRA 191 [1988]).

For the second issue: Exception in the Statute. It is a cardinal principle in statutory construction that where the law does not distinguish courts should not distinguish. Parenthetically, the rule is that where the law does not make any exception, courts may not except something unless compelling reasons exist to justify it (Phil. British Assurance Co., Inc. vs. IAC, 150 SCRA 520 [1987]). The records of the Batasan, Vol. III, unmistakably show that the intention of the lawmakers is to apply the law to whatever currency may be the subject thereof. The discussion on the floor of the then Batasang Pambansa fully sustains this view.

 

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