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Republic of the Philippines

Department of Justice
NATIONAL PROSECUTION SERVICE
PROVINCIAL PROSECUTION OFFICE
Malolos City, Bulacan

Respondent.
x------------------------------------x

COMPLAINT

The undersigned complainant violation of: 1.) Estafa under Art. 315 of the
Revised Penal Code Paragraph 2(d) as amended; and 2.) Batas Pambansa Blg. 22, also
known as the “Anti-Bouncing Check Law,” committed as follows:

Sometime during March, 2016, in the Municipality of Bulakan, Bulacan and


within the jurisdiction of the Trial Courts of Bulacan, the above-named respondent
Rosanna De Lino did at the time of each and every separated transaction there and
then willfully, unlawfully and feloniously issued to the complainant, Celso A. Castro
post-dated checks to wit:

1. On April 2016, the respondent issued two (2) Malayan Bank post-dated check
with Check No. 00277401 in the amount of P 55, 000.00 dated May 16, 2016
and Check No. 00277382 in the amount of P 112, 000.00 dated May 19, 2016;;
2. On June 15, 2016, the respondent issued an Malayan Bank post-dated check
with Check No. 00277373 in the amount of P 105, 000.00 dated June 30, 2016
and Philippine National Bank post-dated check with Check No. 0741998 in
the amount of P 115, 000.00; and
3. On May 30, 2016, the respondent issued an Malayan Bank post-dated check
with Check No. 00277414 in the amount of P 75, 000.00 dated June 16, 2016;

All checks were all deposited by the Complainant at Landbank, Malolos, Mac
Arthur Highway, Bulacan Branch on October 12, 2016, except to Philippine National
Bank post-dated check with Check No. 0741998 because _____________________.
However, all Malayan Bank checks were dishonored by the bank. The said checks were
dishonored by the bank for reason “ACCOUNT CLOSED.”

DISCUSSION

I. THE FACTS OF THE CASE

Private complainant Rosalina ___________________ engaged in the


___________________.

Private complainant was sought out by respondent for the cash to be paid on
credit. In consideration thereof, private complainant agreed on credit because the

1 Annex “A” – copy of RCBC post-dated check with Check No. 0027740
2 Annex “D” – copy of RCBC post-dated check with Check No. 0027738
3 Annex “B” – copy of RCBC post-dated check with Check No. 0027737
4 Annex “C” – copy of RCBC post-dated check with Check No. 0027741

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II. APPLICABLE LAWS

1. By means of any of the following false pretenses or


fraudulent acts executed prior to or simultaneously with
the commission of the fraud:

(d) [By post-dating a check, or issuing a check in payment


of an obligation when the offender therein were not
sufficient to cover the amount of the check. The failure
of the drawer of the check to deposit the amount
necessary to cover his check within three (3) days from
receipt of notice from the bank and/or the payee or
holder that said check has been dishonored for lack of
insufficiency of funds shall be prima facie evidence of
deceit constituting false pretense or fraudulent act. (As
amended by R.A. 4885, approved June 17, 1967.)]

2. B. P. Blg. 22 (Bouncing Checks Law)

The Law provides that:

“Any person who makes or draws and issues any


check to apply on account or for value, knowing at the
time of issue that he does not have sufficient funds in or
credit with the drawee bank for the payment of such
checks in full upon its presentment, which checks is
subsequently dishonored by the drawee bank for
insufficiency of funds or credit or would have been
dishonored for the same reason had not the drawer,
without any valid reason, ordered the bank to stop
payment, shall be punished by imprisonment of not less
than thirty days but not more than one (1) year or by fine
of not less than but not more than double the amount of
the check which fine shall in no case exceed Two
Hundred Thousand Pesos, or both such fine and
imprisonment at the discretion of the court.

The same penalty shall be imposed upon any person


who, having sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee
bank when he makes or draws and issues a check, shall
fail to keep sufficient funds or to maintain a credit to
cover the full amount of the check if presented within a
period of ninety (90) days from the date appearing
thereon, for which reason it is dishonored by the drawee
bank.

Where the check is drawn by a corporation, company or


entity, the person or persons who actually signed the

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check in behalf of such drawer shall be liable under this
Act.

The making, drawing and issuance of a check payment of


which is refused by the drawee because of insufficient
funds in or credit with such bank, when presented within
ninety (90) days from the date of the check, shall be prima
facie evidence of knowledge of such insufficiency of
funds or credit unless such maker or drawer pays the
holder thereof the amount due thereon, or makes
arrangements for payment in full by the drawee of such
check within (5) banking days after receiving notice that
such check has not been paid by the drawee.

It shall be the duty of the drawee of any check, when


refusing to pay the same to the holder thereof upon
presentment, to cause to be written, printed, or stamped
in plain language thereon, or attached thereto, the reason
for drawee's dishonor or refusal to pay the same:
Provided, That where there are no sufficient funds in or
credit with such drawee bank, such fact shall always be
explicitly stated in the notice of dishonor or refusal. In
all prosecutions under this Act, the introduction in
evidence of any unpaid and dishonored check, having the
drawee's refusal to pay stamped or written thereon or
attached thereto, with the reason therefor as aforesaid,
shall be prima facie evidence of the making or issuance
of said check, and the due presentment to the drawee for
payment and the dishonor thereof, and that the same was
properly dishonored for the reason written, stamped or
attached by the drawee on such dishonored check.

Notwithstanding receipt of an order to stop payment, the


drawee shall state in the notice that there were no
sufficient funds in or credit with such bank for the
payment in full of such check, if such be the fact.

BP Blg. 22 enumerates the elements of the crime to be:

(1) The making, drawing and issuance of any check to apply


for account or for value;
(2) The knowledge of the maker, drawer, or issuer that at the
time of issue he does not have sufficient funds in or credit
with the drawee bank for the payment of the check in full
upon its presentment; and
(3) The subsequent dishonor of the check by the drawee
bank for insufficiency of funds or credit or dishonor for
the same reason had not the drawer, without any valid
cause, ordered the bank to stop payment.

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There is deemed to be a prima facie evidence of knowledge
on the part of the maker, drawer or issuer of insufficiency
of funds in or credit with the drawee bank of the check
issued if dishonored check is presented within 90 days
from the date of the check and the maker or drawer fails
to pay thereon or to make arrangement with the drawee
bank for that purpose.

The statute has created the prima facie presumption


evidently because “knowledge” which involves a state of
mind would be difficult to establish. The presumption
does not hold, however, when the maker, drawer or
issuer of the check pays the holder thereof the amount
due thereon or makes arrangement for payment in full by
the drawee bank of such check within 5 banking days
after receiving the notice that such check has not been
paid by the drawee bank. Section 2 of B.P. Blg. 22 clearly
provides that this presumption arises not from the mere
fact of drawing, making and issuing a bum check; there
must also be a showing that, within five (5) banking days
from receipt of notice of dishonor, such maker or drawer failed
to pay the holder of the check the amount due thereon
or to make arrangement for its payment in full by the
drawee of such check.”

LATEST APPLICABLE JURISPRUDENCE: ESTAFA


In PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. VIRGINIA BABY P. MONTANER, G.R. No. 184053,
August 31, 2011, the accused was convicted for the crime of Estafa as defined and penalized under
paragraph 2(d), Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code. The Information alleged that on or about May 17,
1996 in the Municipality of San Pedro, Province of Laguna and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court accused Virginia (Baby) P. Montaner did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously defraud
one Reynaldo Solis in the following manner: said accused by means of false pretenses and fraudulent acts
that her checks are fully funded draw, make and issue in favor of one Reynaldo Solis ten (10) Prudential
BANK CHECKS, all having a total value of FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00) and all aforesaid
checks were postdated June 17, 1996 in exchange for cash knowing fully well that she has no funds in the
drawee bank and when the said checks were presented for payment the same were dishonored by the
drawee bank on reason of “ACCOUNT CLOSED” and despite demand accused failed and refused to pay
the value thereof to the damage and prejudice of Reynaldo Solis in the aforementioned total amount of
P50,000.00.

To exculpate herself from criminal liability, accused Virginia Baby P. Montaner denied the
allegations that she issued ten (10) checks in private complainant’s favor claiming that the ten (10) checks
were borrowed from her by one Marlyn Galope because the latter needed money. She gave the ten checks
to Galope, signed the same albeit the space for the date, amount and payee were left blank so that the
checks cannot be used for any negotiation. She further told Galope that the checks were not funded. When
she learned that a case was filed against her for estafa, she confronted Marlyn Galope and the latter told
her that money will not be given to her if she will not issue the said checks. She has no knowledge of the
notice of dishonor sent to her by private complainant and claimed that her husband, who supposedly
received the notice of dishonor left for abroad in July 1996 and returned only after a year, that is, in 1997.

In a Decision dated April 8, 2003, the trial court convicted appellant for the crime of estafa as
defined and penalized under paragraph 2(d), Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code and sentenced her to
suffer an indeterminate penalty of imprisonment from twelve (12) years of prision mayor as minimum to
twenty-two (22) years of reclusion perpetua as maximum and to indemnify complainant Reynaldo Solis in
the amount of P50,000.00.

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Appellant elevated the case to the Court of Appeals but the adverse ruling was merely affirmed by
the appellate court in its Decision dated February 12, 2008.

Hence, appellant interposed an appeal before the Supreme Court and put forth a single assignment of
error: THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED–APPELLANT GUILTY
BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF THE CRIME OF ESTAFA UNDER ARTICLE 315, PAR. 2 (D) OF
THE REVISED PENAL CODE.

Appellant maintains that she entrusted the subject checks, purportedly signed in blank, to Marilyn
Galope (Galope) out of pity in order for the latter to secure a loan. Thus, there is purportedly no certainty
beyond reasonable doubt that she issued the checks purposely to defraud Reynaldo Solis (Solis) into
lending her money. She further claims that no transaction had ever transpired between her and Solis.
Admitting that she may have been imprudent, she nonetheless insists that her simple imprudence does not
translate to criminal liability.

The Supreme Court was not persuaded.

The Court cited Paragraph 2(d), Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code provides:

ART. 315. Swindling (estafa). – Any person who shall defraud another by any of the means
mentioned hereinbelow x x x:

xxxx

2. By means of any of the following false pretenses or fraudulent acts executed prior to or
simultaneously with the commission of the fraud:

xxxx

(d) By postdating a check, or issuing a check in payment of an obligation when the offender had
no funds in the bank, or his funds deposited therein were not sufficient to cover the amount of the check.
The failure of the drawer of the check to deposit the amount necessary to cover his check within three (3)
days from receipt of notice from the bank and/or the payee or holder that said check has been dishonored
for lack or insufficiency of funds shall be prima facie evidence of deceit constituting false pretense or
fraudulent act.

According to the Court, the elements of estafa under paragraph 2(d), Article 315 of the Revised
Penal Code are: (1) the postdating or issuance of a check in payment of an obligation contracted at the
time the check was issued; (2) lack of sufficiency of funds to cover the check; and (3) damage to the payee.

In the said case, the prosecution sufficiently established appellant’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt
for estafa under paragraph 2(d), Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code. According to Solis’s clear and
categorical testimony, appellant issued to him the 10 postdated Prudential BANK CHECKS, each in the
amount of P5,000.00 or a total of P50,000.00, in his house in exchange for their cash equivalent.

From the circumstances, the Court held that it was evident that Solis would not have given
P50,000.00 cash to appellant had it not been for her issuance of the 10 Prudential BANK CHECKS. These
postdated checks were undoubtedly issued by appellant to induce Solis to part with his cash. However,
when Solis attempted to encash them, they were all dishonored by the bank because the account was
already closed.

Solis wrote appellant a demand letter dated October 13, 1996 which was received by appellant’s
husband to inform appellant that her postdated checks had bounced and that she must settle her obligation
or else face legal action from Solis. Appellant did not comply with the demand nor did she deposit the
amount necessary to cover the checks within three days from receipt of notice. This gave rise to a prima
facie evidence of deceit, which is an element of the crime of estafa, constituting false pretense or fraudulent
act as stated in the second sentence of paragraph 2(d), Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code.

As for appellant’s claims that she merely entrusted to Galope the blank but signed checks
imprudently, without knowing that Galope would give them as a guarantee for a loan, the Court viewed
such statements with the same incredulity as the lower courts.

Evidence, to be believed, must not only proceed from the mouth of a credible witness, but it must
be credible in itself – such as the common experience and observation of mankind can approve as probable
under the circumstances. The Court has no test of the truth of human testimony, except its conformity to
our knowledge, observation and experience. Whatever is repugnant to these belongs to the miraculous and
is outside judicial cognizance.

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Appellant wished to impress upon the Court that she voluntarily parted with her blank but signed
checks not knowing or even having any hint of suspicion that the same may be used to defraud anyone
who may rely on them. Verily, appellant’s assertion defies ordinary common sense and human experience,
the Court stated.

Moreover, the Court added, it is elementary that denial, if unsubstantiated by clear and convincing
evidence, is negative and self-serving evidence which has far less evidentiary value than the testimony of
credible witnesses who testify on affirmative matters. It agreed with the lower courts that appellant’s bare
denial cannot be accorded credence for lack of evidentiary support. As aptly noted by the trial court,
appellant’s failure to produce Galope as a witness to corroborate her story is fatal to her cause. In all, the
Court of Appeals committed no error in upholding the conviction of appellant for estafa. Hence, the Supreme
Court AFFIRMED the two decisions of both the trial court and the appellate court.

LATEST APPLICABLE JURISPRUDENCE: B.P BLG. 22


In EUMELIA R. MITRA vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and FELICISIMO S. TARCELO, G.R.
NO. 191404, July 5, 2010, the petitioner Eumelia R. Mitra (Mitra) was the Treasurer, and Florencio L.
Cabrera (deceased), Jr. was the President, of Lucky Nine Credit Corporation (LNCC), a corporation
engaged in MONEY LENDING activities. Between 1996 and 1999, private respondent Felicisimo S.
Tarcelo (Tarcelo) INVESTED MONEY in LNCC. As the usual practice in money placement transactions,
Tarcelo was issued checks equivalent to the amounts he invested plus the interest on his investments by
Mitra and Cabrera, were issued by LNCC to Tarcelo.

When Tarcelo presented these checks for payment, they were dishonored for the reason “account
closed.” Tarcelo made several oral demands on LNCC for the payment of these checks but he was
frustrated. Constrained, in 2002, he caused the filing of seven informations for violation of Batas Pambansa
Blg. 22 (BP 22) in the total amount of P925,000.00 with the MTCC in Batangas City.

After trial on the merits, the MTCC found Mitra and Cabrera guilty of the charges and ordered them
to respectively pay the mandated fines for each violation and with subsidiary imprisonment in all cases, in
case of INSOLVENCY and it further adjudged them civilly liable and ordered them to pay, in solidum, private
complainant Felicisimo S. Tarcelo the amount of NINE HUNDRED TWENTY FIVE THOUSAND PESOS
(P925,000.000).

Mitra and Cabrera appealed to the Batangas RTC contending that: they signed the seven checks
in blank with no name of the payee, no amount stated and no date of maturity; they did not know when and
to whom those checks would be issued; the seven checks were only among those in one or two booklets
of checks they were made to sign at that time; and that they signed the checks so as not to delay the
transactions of LNCC because they did not regularly hold office there. The RTC affirmed the MTCC
decision.

Meanwhile, Cabrera died. Mitra alone filed a petition for review with the Court of Appeals claiming,
among others, that there was no proper service of the notice of dishonor on her. The Court of Appeals
dismissed her petition for lack of merit.

Mitra went up to the Supreme Court on a petition for review and submitted the issues: WHETHER
OR NOT THE ELEMENTS OF VIOLATION OF BATAS PAMBANSA BILANG 22 MUST BE PROVED
BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT AS AGAINST THE CORPORATION WHO OWNS THE CURRENT
ACCOUNT WHERE THE SUBJECT CHECKS WERE DRAWN BEFORE LIABILITY ATTACHES TO THE
SIGNATORIES; and WHETHER OR NOT THERE IS PROPER SERVICE OF NOTICE OF DISHONOR
AND DEMAND TO PAY TO THE PETITIONER AND THE LATE FLORENCIO CABRERA, JR.

The Supreme Court denied the petition.

The Court held that a check is a negotiable instrument that serves as a substitute for money and
as a convenient form of payment in financial transactions and obligations. The use of checks as payment
allows commercial and banking transactions to proceed without the actual handling of money, thus, doing
away with the need to physically count bills and coins whenever payment is made. It permits commercial
and banking transactions to be carried out quickly and efficiently. But the convenience afforded by checks
is damaged by unfunded checks that adversely affect confidence in our commercial and banking activities,
and ultimately injure public interest.

BP 22 or the Bouncing Checks Law was enacted for the specific purpose of addressing the problem
of the continued issuance and circulation of unfunded checks by irresponsible persons. To stem the harm
caused by these bouncing checks to the community, BP 22 considers the mere act of issuing an unfunded
check as an offense not only against property but also against public order. The purpose of BP 22 in
declaring the mere issuance of a bouncing check as malum prohibitum is to punish the offender in order to

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deter him and others from committing the offense, to isolate him from society, to reform and rehabilitate
him, and to maintain social order. The penalty is stiff. BP 22 imposes the penalty of imprisonment for at
least 30 days or a fine of up to double the amount of the check or both imprisonment and fine.

Specifically, BP 22 provides:

SECTION 1. Checks Without Sufficient Funds. - Any person who makes or draws and issues any
check to apply on account or for value, knowing at the time of issue that he does not have sufficient funds
in or credit with the drawee bank for the payment of such check in full upon its presentment, which check
is subsequently dishonored by the drawee bank for insufficiency of funds or credit or would have been
dishonored for the same reason had not the drawer, without any valid reason, ordered the bank to stop
payment, shall be punished by imprisonment of not less than thirty days but not more than one (1) year or
by a fine of not less than but not more than double the amount of the check which fine shall in no case
exceed Two Hundred Thousand Pesos, or both such fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court.

The same penalty shall be imposed upon any person who, having sufficient funds in or credit with
the drawee bank when he makes or draws and issues a check, shall fail to keep sufficient funds or to
maintain a credit to cover the full amount of the check if presented within a period of ninety (90) days from
the date appearing thereon, for which reason it is dishonored by the drawee bank.

Where the check is drawn by a corporation, company or entity, the person or persons who actually
signed the check in behalf of such drawer shall be liable under this Act.

SECTION 2. Evidence of Knowledge of Insufficient Funds. — The making, drawing and issuance
of a check payment of which is refused by the drawee because of insufficient funds in or credit with such
bank, when presented within ninety (90) days from the date of the check, shall be prima facie evidence of
knowledge of such insufficiency of funds or credit unless such maker or drawer pays the holder thereof the
amount due thereon, or makes arrangements for payment in full by the drawee of such check within five
(5) banking days after receiving notice that such check has not been paid by the drawee.

Mitra posited in the petition that before the signatory to a bouncing corporate check can be held
liable, all the elements of the crime of violation of BP 22 must first be proven against the corporation. The
corporation must first be declared to have committed the violation before the liability attaches to the
signatories of the checks.

The Court stated that it found itself unable to agree with Mitra’s posture. The third paragraph of
Section 1 of BP 22 reads: "Where the check is drawn by a corporation, company or entity, the person or
persons who actually signed the check in behalf of such drawer shall be liable under this Act." This provision
recognizes the reality that a corporation can only act through its officers. Hence, its wording is unequivocal
and mandatory – that the person who actually signed the corporate check shall be held liable for a violation
of BP 22. This provision does not contain any condition, qualification or limitation.

The Court cited the case of Llamado v. Court of Appeals,[6] where it ruled that the accused was
liable on the unfunded corporate check which he signed as treasurer of the corporation. He could not invoke
his lack of involvement in the negotiation for the transaction as a defense because BP 22 punishes the
mere issuance of a bouncing check, not the purpose for which the check was issued or in consideration of
the terms and conditions relating to its issuance. In this case, Mitra signed the LNCC checks as treasurer.
Following Llamado, she must then be held liable for violating BP 22.

Another essential element of a violation of BP 22 is the drawer’s knowledge that he has insufficient
funds or credit with the drawee bank to cover his check. Because this involves a state of mind that is difficult
to establish, BP 22 creates the prima facie presumption that once the check is dishonored, the drawer of
the check gains knowledge of the insufficiency, unless within five banking days from receipt of the notice
of dishonor, the drawer pays the holder of the check or makes arrangements with the drawee bank for the
payment of the check. The service of the notice of dishonor gives the drawer the opportunity to make good
the check within those five days to avert his prosecution for violating BP 22.

Mitra alleged that there was no proper service on her of the notice of dishonor and, so, an essential
element of the offense is missing. This contention, the Court said, raised a factual issue that was not proper
for review. It is not the function of the Court to re-examine the finding of facts of the Court of Appeals. Our
review is limited to errors of law and cannot touch errors of facts unless the petitioner shows that the trial
court overlooked facts or circumstances that warrant a different disposition of the case[7] or that the findings
of fact have no basis on record. Hence, with respect to the issue of the propriety of service on Mitra of the
notice of dishonor, the Court gives full faith and credit to the consistent findings of the MTCC, the RTC and
the CA.

The defense postulated that there was no demand served upon the accused, said denial deserves
scant consideration. Positive allegation of the prosecution that a demand letter was served upon the

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accused prevails over the denial made by the accused. Though, having denied that there was no demand
letter served on April 10, 2000, however, the prosecution positively alleged and proved that the questioned
demand letter was served upon the accused on April 10, 2000, that was at the time they were attending
Court hearing before Branch I of this Court. In fact, the prosecution had submitted a Certification issued by
the other Branch of this Court certifying the fact that the accused were present during the April 10, 2010
hearing. With such straightforward and categorical testimony of the witness, the Court believes that the
prosecution has achieved what was dismally lacking in the three (3) cases of Betty King, Victor Ting and
Caras – evidence of the receipt by the accused of the demand letter sent to her. The Court accepts the
prosecution’s narrative that the accused refused to sign the same to evidence their receipt thereof. To
require the prosecution to produce the signature of the accused on said demand letter would be imposing
an undue hardship on it. As well, actual receipt acknowledgment is not and has never been required of the
prosecution either by law or jurisprudence. [emphasis supplied]

With the notice of dishonor duly served and disregarded, there arose the presumption that Mitra
and Cabrera knew that there were insufficient funds to cover the checks upon their presentment for
payment. In fact, the account was already closed.

To reiterate the elements of a violation of BP 22 as contained in the above-quoted provision, the


Court said, a violation exists where:

1. A person makes or draws and issues a check to apply on account or for value;

2. The person who makes or draws and issues the check knows at the time of issue that he does not
have sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank for the full payment of the check upon its
presentment; and

3. The check is subsequently dishonored by the drawee bank for insufficiency of funds or credit, or
would have been dishonored for the same reason had not the drawer, without any valid reason,
ordered the bank to stop payment.

The Court added that there was no dispute that Mitra signed the checks and that the bank
dishonored the checks because the account had been closed. Notice of dishonor was properly given, but
Mitra failed to pay the checks or make arrangements for their payment within five days from notice. With all
the above elements duly proven, Mitra cannot escape the civil and criminal liabilities that BP 22 imposes
for its breach.

PRAYER

WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is most respectfully prayed that after


notice and hearing the respondent be charged with the crimes of ESTAFA and
VIOLATION OF B.P. BLG. 22 to protect/preserve the right/ interest of the
complainant to recover his claim of ONE MILLION SIX HUNDRED THIRTY-
FIVE THOUSAND NINE HUNDRED THIRTY-EIGHT PESOS and 30/100
PESOS (P 1, 635, 938.30), plus exemplary damages of TEN THOUSAND PESOS
(P 10,000.00), moral damages of TEN THOUSAND PESOS (P 10,000.00),
attorney’s fees of TEN THOUSAND PESOS (P 10,000.00) plus 5% of the
recoverable amounts, and costs of suit.

CONTRARY TO LAW.

SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN to before me this _____ day of ________


2016 here at City of Malolos, Bulacan.
_______________________
Administering Officer

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