CECILIO S. DE VILLA, petitioner,
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, HONORABLE JOB B. MADAYAG, and ROBERTO Z. LORAYES, respondents.
San Jose Enriquez, Lacas Santos & Borje for petitioner.
Eduardo R. Robles for private respondent.
[P]etitioner was charged before the Regional Trial Court with violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22. After arraignment and after private respondent had testified on direct examination, petitioner moved to dismiss the Information on the following grounds: x x x (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). Accused’s motion to dismiss was denied for lack of merit. Petitioner moved for reconsideration but his motion was subsequently denied by respondent court.
Whether or not B.P. No. 22 covers foreign (currency) checks.
YES. Petition was dismissed for lack of merit.
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. Under the Bouncing Checks Law (B.P. Blg. 22), foreign checks, provided they are either drawn and issued in the Philippines though payable outside thereof, or made payable and dishonored in the Philippines though drawn and issued outside thereof, are within the coverage of said law. The law likewise applied to checks drawn against current accounts in foreign currency.
[I]t is well established that courts may avail themselves of the actual proceedings of the legislative body to assist in determining the construction of a statute of doubtful meaning (citation omitted). Thus, where there is doubts as to what a provision of a statute means, the meaning put to the provision during the legislative deliberation or discussion on the bill may be adopted (citation omitted). 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. Courts may avail themselves of the actual proceedings of the legislative body to assist in determining the construction of a statute of doubtful meaning.