G.docx - G.R No 129764 GEOFFREY F GRIFFITH petitioner vs HON COURT OF APPEALS RTC JUDGE EDWIN A VILLASOR MTC JUDGE MANUEL D.L VILLAMAYOR and PHELPS

G.docx - G.R No 129764 GEOFFREY F GRIFFITH petitioner vs...

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G.R. No. 129764 March 12, 2002 GEOFFREY F. GRIFFITH , petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, RTC JUDGE EDWIN A. VILLASOR, MTC JUDGE MANUEL D.L. VILLAMAYOR and PHELPS DODGE PHILS., INC., respondents. QUISUMBING, J.: Assailed in this petition is the decision 1 dated March 14, 1997 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 19621, affirming the Regional Trial Court's decision 2 finding petitioner Geoffrey F. Griffith guilty on two counts for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 (the Bouncing Checks Law), and sentencing him to suffer imprisonment for a period of six months on each count, to be served consecutively. Also assailed is the Court of Appeals' resolution 3 dated July 8, 1997 denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration. The facts are as follows: In 1985, Phelps Dodge Philippines, Inc. leased its lot and factory building to Lincoln Gerard, Inc. for a term of two years at a monthly rental of P 75,000. When Lincoln Gerard, Inc. incurred rental arrearages, Geoffrey F. Griffith, in his capacity as president of Lincoln Gerard, Inc., issued the following checks: Far East Bank and Trust Co. Check No. 06B-C-075065, dated April 15, 1986 for P 100,000.00, payable to Phelps Dodge Phils. Inc.; and Far East Bank and Trust Co. Check No. 06B-C-075066, dated May 1, 1986 for P 115,442.65, payable to Phelps Dodge Phils. Inc. 4 The voucher for these checks contained the following instruction: These checks are not to be presented without prior approval from this Corporation to be given not later than May 30, 1986. Also written on the face of the voucher was the following note: However, if written approval of Lincoln Gerard, Inc. is not given before May 30, 1986, Phelps Dodge, Phils. shall present the cheques for payment. This is final and irrevocable. 5 On May 29, 1986, Griffith wrote Phelps Dodge not to present the said checks for payment on May 30, 1986 because they could not be funded due to a four-week labor strike that had earlier paralyzed the business operations of Lincoln Gerard. 6 Previously, in a letter dated May 20, 1986, Phelps Dodge, through its treasurer Ricardo R. Manarang, advised Lincoln Gerard that it was transferring the contents of the Lincoln Gerard warehouse in the leased premises since a new tenant was moving in. Phelps Dodge told Lincoln Gerard that its properties would be placed "in our compound and under our custody." 7 On June 2, 1986, 8 when no further communication was received from Lincoln Gerard, Phelps Dodge presented the two checks for payment but these were dishonored by the bank for having been drawn against insufficient funds. Three days later, Phelps Dodge sent a demand letter to Lincoln Gerard, apprising Griffith of the dishonor of the checks and asking him to fund them within the time prescribed by law. 9 Lincoln Gerard still failed to fund the checks but Griffith sent a letter to Phelps Dodge, explaining Lincoln's inability to fund said checks due to the strike.
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