MANILA, Philippines -- The Parañaque City prosecutor's office on Wednesday found probable cause to indict actress-politician Vanessa Marquez, better known as Alma Moreno, for violating the bouncing checks law in the purchase of P390,000 worth of campaign materials.
Assistant city prosecutor Sheilani Baes found sufficient basis to charge Moreno, a Parañaque councilor, with violation of Batas Pambansa 22 for issuing bad checks to an advertising agency.
The complaint filed by Maya Media Arts Yielding Ads (Maya) Inc., represented by its finance manager Priscilla Caro, accused Moreno of reneging on her obligation to pay the company for the production of tarpaulin campaign materials used in her failed mayoral campaign in 2004.
Moreno later won a term as councilor using the services of a different advertising company for her campaign materials.
Caro said two checks for the partial payment of the campaign materials were issued by Moreno, one for P50,000 and the other for P120,000, but both were not honored by the bank for ?insufficient funds and/or closed account.?
When the company sent representatives to personally demand payment from Moreno, she issued another check to cover the entire obligation of P390,000, records showed.
Lawyer Benedicto Malcontento, who represents the advertising firm, said this check was also not honored by the bank, prompting the company to send representatives to personally demand payment from Moreno, and later, to send her three demand letters.
In her counteraffidavit, Moreno said she had never personally dealt with the complainant, and that all transactions with the company had been conducted by her campaign representative Lilibeth Peña.
She said it was Peña who had control of the funds, and that her only participation was signing the checks.
Moreno further said her obligation to Maya had been settled "way back in 2004."
However, in her resolution dated August 1 but released only last week, Baes said there was probable cause to charge Moreno since all elements of the crime were present in the case.
She further noted that Moreno failed to present any written receipts to prove she had already paid the amount due.
"Absent such vital corroborative proof, respondent's allegation of payment is not worthy of belief," she said in the two page resolution.
She set the bail for Moreno's conditional liberty at P30,000.
In a phone interview, Malcontento said the case would be raffled off to a trial court and a warrant for Moreno's arrest would likely be issued soon.