Hi! My father had a joint checking account with a colleague, which they opened for convenience and expediency, since his colleague is tasked to find an investor to finance their participation in the bidding for 2 projects. My father is the authorized officer of the company that is qualified to bid for these projects. Considering that it's a joint checking account and they were pressed for time in complying with the financial requirements in bidding for the projects, my father entrusted to his co-signatory signed blank joint account checks.
Afterwards, he found out that his co-signatory issued their joint account checks to a third person (the "Investor") from whom his co-signatory personally owed money (in millions). This Investor released P500,000 for the purchase of bidding documents and bonds months before my father's co-signatory issued their joint account checks.
Upon finding out about the issuance to the Investor of their joint account checks, my father met with the Investor and his co-signatory to object to the issuance of the checks, the amount, and the maturity date of the checks. After some discussion, co-signatory and the Investor convinced and assured my father that the checks were issued (and received by the Investor) merely as guarantee that should the company my father represented win the contract for the 2 projects and the mobilization fund is released to the company, the Investor will be entitled to the sum represented by the checks which shall be deductible from the co-signatory's share (the service fee for finding a financier), return of her P500,000 INVESTMENT (no agreement that this sum is refundable in case they do not win the bidding), and she will be entitled to sub-contract the projects for a percentage of the contract price for work accomplished.
Unfortunately, out of the 2 contracts, the company my father represented was awarded with only 1. The Investor, however, told them that she is not interested if she will be sub-contracting only for 1 of the 2 projects. So their relationship ended.
Years thereafter, when my father attempted to get his NBI clearance, he found out that he and his co-signatory were sued by the Investor for BP 22 and Estafa by issuing bum checks. Upon finding out, he voluntarily submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court (home town of the Investor) and pleaded not guilty.
Per Investor's testimony in open court, my father found out that his co-signatory replaced their joint account checks with personal checks (of the co-signatory) the same day the Investor went to co-signatory's house to notify her that the joint account checks bounced.
The Investor sued them as conspirators for the joint account checks and the replacement personal checks of the co-signatory.
With the foregoing, may I seek your opinion on: 1) Whether my father can be convicted for estafa under Art 315, par. 2(d) of the RPC even though the Investor testified in open court, more than once, that she released the money MONTHS BEFORE she received the checks and that she released the P3M+ (the total face value of joint account checks) because my father appeared like a good person and she knew they were awarded a contract for a DIFFERENT project (this is true). 2) Despite of the LACK of written notice of dishonor to my father, can the court rule that there was deceit because of the allegations in the complaint-affidavit and the assumption/analysis that being a businesswoman, Investor would not have parted with her money if not deceived by my father. 3) What possible strong legal defenses can my father invoke for the civil liability? 4) Is replacement of the joint account check by the co-signatory, which complainant accepted, with her personal checks of any relevance to our defense? Investor was asked by the judge in open court if she understood, being a businesswoman, that the replacement of the joint account checks and her acceptance of the solo checks of one of the co-signatories meant that she can only go after my father's co-signatory and she categorically responded "Yes".
Would appreciate to know our chances based on your assessment.