Do you know someone, perhaps a friend, who borrowed money from you and after all this time, has not bothered to pay you back? Do you have a business, perhaps a sari-sari store, where one of your neighbors have accumulated credit so high they’re now avoiding you or making silly excuses already because they don’t want to pay anymore?
Don’t fret, because there is still hope for you to get your money back or get paid.
Thanks to former Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno, we now have the Rule of Procedure for Small Claims Cases which allows any individual or business to file a case against someone who owes them money.
Below is a 15-minute primer video, that shows how to file for small claims cases in the Philippines. It’s surprisingly easy and you don’t even have to hire a lawyer anymore. I hope you take the time to watch this informative and highly entertaining) video.
Again, as a reminder, to be able to file a case against your debtor under the Rule of Procedure for Small Claims Cases, the money claim should not exceed P200,000, which should already include interests and penalty fees (if there’s any).
If the money being claimed is more than that amount, then the plaintiff would have to go to regular court.
Here are the basic steps in filing for a Small Claims Case in the Philippines
1. Go to either one of these places to file your case:
- First level court of the city where you live
- First level court of the city where your debtor (defendant) lives
2. First level courts are defined as any of the following:
- Metropolitan Trial Court
- Municipal Trial Courts in Cities
- Municipal Trial Court
- Municipal Circuit Trial Courts
3. Go to the Office of the Clerk of Court and fill up the following forms:
- Information for Plaintiff
- Statement of Claim
- Certification of Non-Forum Shopping
4. As plaintiff, you would also need to accomplish a Verified Statement of Claim which certifies that all information you gave is correct and you have not filed the same case in any other court.
5. You would also need to provide other important documents that will show sufficient proof that the loan occurred, this can be ANY of the following:
- Signed contracts by the defendants
- Promissory notes, receipts, bank deposit slips, checks and other “paper trails”
- Latest demand letter with proof of delivery and proof of receipt
- Affidavits of witnesses
6. After this, the plaintiff will then have to pay a small amount to file the case. According to a lawyer friend, this is usually around P1,250.00.
What happens next?
Now that all the documents are submitted, and all administrative fees are paid, the court will then assign the case to a judge (through a raffle) and if it’s found that there is merit to the case, the defendants will be given a Summon, Notice of Hearing, Information for the Defendant, Response Form and other documents.
Then, the plaintiff will be informed and will be sent a Notice of Hearing which will state the scheduled date and time of appearance in court.
During the Settlement Discussion, the two parties, with the mediation of the judge, will have the chance to settle the case. If no agreement happens, the case will now move to a court hearing which should occur on the same day.
Lastly, at the hearing, the judge will now make his or her decision regarding the case. The decision is final, non-appealable and immediately executory.
UPDATE: The Supreme Court (SC) has raised the amount of claims that fall within the jurisdiction of small claims courts from P100,000 to P200,000 effective Feb. 1, 2016.
That’s it, I hope you were able to learn a lot today. Do check out these two related articles which I’ve written before:
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