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Can You Be Imprisoned For Non-Payment Of Debt?

Have you been screening your phone calls to avoid collectors who are constantly nagging you to settle your unpaid credit card balance? Have you been threatened to face a lawsuit if you fail to repay a lender? If incessant calls from creditors caused you to be allergic to phone calls, being armed with the basic principles of the consequences for non-payment of debt can give you greater peace of mind. In fact, it can be a whiff of fresh air if you heard the statement that no one will end up in jail for non-payment of debt. 

Before you allow paranoia to feast on you, know more about the laws associated with unsettled debt.

Some common laws that are said to violate the constitutional prohibition against non-imprisonment of debt:

Credit Cards

The Access Devices Regulation Act of 1998 (RA. 8484) states that any person who obtains the money or anything that is valuable with the use of an access device with the sole intent to defraud or with intent to gain and fleeing once motive has been executed will be held liable for a crime punishable with a fine and imprisonment. In addition, a cardholder who intentionally abandons the residence, place of employment or business that was declared on the application or credit card without informing the credit card company of the current place where he could be reached will also be liable for a crime. If during the abandonment, the person has outstanding and unpaid balance which is past due for at least 90 days and is more than P10,000.00, the individual shall be prima facie presumed to have used his access device or credit card with intent to defraud.

Bouncing Checks 

Bouncing Checks Law (BP22) has also been viewed as a violation of constitutional prohibition against non-imprisonment for debt. In the context of this law, the non-payment of an obligation is not its main concern. The law is not designed to force a debtor to settle his debt. The main purpose of the law is to prevent anyone with the gumption to make checks that don’t have any value with the intention of putting them in circulation. Checks have become a substitute for cash and widely accepted as a medium of payment especially in trade and commerce and when the confidence of using these checks are marred due to its misuse, its value and usefulness will also be diminished. 

Trust Receipts

Trust receipts and bouncing checks share the same argument based on the Trust Receipts Law (PD 115), which states, if a person fails to turn over the proceeds of the sale of goods which are considered covered by a trust receipt or if the person fails to return said goods if they have not been sold, penal sanctions shall be imposed. The punishment is due to the abuse of confidence and dishonesty in the handling of goods or money.

Pinoy Attorney

Written by : Pinoy Attorney

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