Legal collecting of loans and debts has been made easier by the Supreme Court.
In an article of ABS-CBN published last year, July 7, the Supreme Court had revised the small claims procedure making it easier for the citizens to file charges against those refused to pay the money they lend.
In the video report of Mike Navallo, Estrellita Golondrina has been having a problem claiming the money she lent to someone. She tried calling, texting, and even going to the person’s house but nothing happened. Their agreement states that the house will be mortgaged to the other party for P20,000.
Aling Estrellita already tried going to the barangay to seek legal advice but to no avail.
“After 6 months, 7 months, medyo hindi na. Mga puro pangako, puro pangako. Lahat po ng summon na nakakarating sa kanya, busy ang sinasabi niya,” said Estrellita.
Because of this, she decided to finally file a civil case and she found out that the process has been made easier in the metropolitan and municipal trial courts if the charges are related to money claim. This includes lease, loans, service, sale, and mortgages.
Under the revised small claims procedure, there is no need for those who are claiming their money to hire a lawyer if the amount is P200,000 or less. All they need is to fill out the small claims form and provide the required documents.
The five stages of the procedure are filing of complaint (Statement of Claim), issuance of summons, filing of response, hearing which will happen within 30 days after the complaint was filed. If the two parties were not able to reconcile and compromise, the judge will have to make the final decision within 24 hours from hearing.
“One day of hearing, no extension. No postponement is allowed,” announced Associate Justice, Fernanda Lampas-Peralta. “And then the decision of the judge to be rendered in 24 hours or in 1 day is final, executory and unappealable.”
The Supreme Court sees the revised small claims procedure as a way to lessen the cases filed in court and to help those who cannot afford to hire a lawyer. The filing fee is much cheaper and one could get an exemption if indigent or the person has no financial means.
But for people to not overuse the system, there is an additional fee to every defendant added, and additional amount if the person had already filed five charges within a year.
“Sa small claims, pananatilihin natin na ang batas ay maging simple, mabilis, abot-kaya,” said then Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
In 2016, almost 13,634 small claim cases had been disposed.
Watch the full video here: