What if you lent somebody P10,000.00 and that somebody refuse to pay you? Will you hire a lawyer to collect the amount? Chances are, you will hesitate to seek the services of a lawyer since it would be impractical to pay him more than what you seek to collect. How do you then collect the money?
Our Supreme Court provided a remedy for small claims cases so that you can enforce your claim expeditiously and economically without having to resort to a lawyer. A.M. No. 08-8-7-Sc, the Rule of Procedure For Small Claims Cases, as amended, is the answer to your prayer. Its salient provisions are:
- It covers cases for payment of money where the value of the claim does not exceed P100,000.00 exclusive of costs and interests.
The case is cognizable by the Metropolitan Trial Courts, MTCCs, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts.
It is applicable for civil actions only where the nature of the claim by the plaintiff is solely for reimbursement of sum of money by virtue of contracts of loan, lease, services, sale, or mortgage; the civil aspect of criminal actions; for damages arising from fault, negligence, quasi-contract or contract; the enforcement of a barangay amicable settlement or an arbitration award involving a money claim.
The Rule also provides for the procedure of initiating, hearing and deciding Small Claims cases, as follows:
a. Plaintiff shall file a Statement of Claim accompanied by Certificate of No Forum Shopping, certified photocopies of the actionable document, and affidavits of the witnesses to support the claim;
b. Pay the filing fees. If the plaintiff is an indigent, he shall file a motion to sue as an indigent which shall be approved by the Executive Judge or the Presiding Judge. If denied, he has five days within which to pay the filing fees;
c. The court shall determine if the case falls under the Small Claims Rule, and may dismiss the case if it is shown that any of the ground for dismissal of civil action is apparent on the Statement of Claim;
d. If no ground for dismissal exists, the Judge shall issue a Summons directing the Defendant to submit a Verified Response within 10 days. The Response shall be accompanied by certified copies of documents as well as affidavits of witnesses in support thereof.
e. Failure to file a Response, as well as failure to appear during the date set for hearing, shall entitle the Plaintiff to judgment. If no Response was filed but Defendant appears during the hearing, the judge shall determine what defense he has to offer and proceed to hear, mediate or adjudicate the case as if a Response was filed.
f. Only the Statement of Claim and the Response are allowed as pleadings;
g. Lawyers for the parties may not appear, except if the attorney himself is the plaintiff or defendant.
h. The failure of the Plaintiff to appear during the hearing shall be cause for dismissal of the claim without prejudice. Failure of the defendant to appear shall have the same effect as failure to file a Response.
i. Only one postponement for each party is allowed.
j. After the hearing, the judge shall render a decision based on facts established by the evidence. The decision is final and unappealable.
At least now, you have a way of collecting unpaid loans without having to go through an expensive and time-consuming litigation.