My officemate borrowed P150,000.00 from me. She failed to pay on the due date we agreed upon, so I am contemplating on filing a case against her. However, I am a bit hesitant because people are telling me that the case would take a long time to finish. May I ask how my case would run if I decide to file it in court?
There are cases that take time to conclude especially those that are exceptional or complex, owing to the nature of the action itself, or on the surrounding circumstances of the case. But, there are also cases that are promptly heard and speedily resolved.
Pursuant to its constitutional power to promulgate rules of procedure in court, the Supreme Court issues rules and regulations aimed at providing a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases. One of the rules issued by the Supreme Court, which applies to your case, is the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure.
This rule covers cases where the total amount of the plaintiff’s claim does not exceed one hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) or two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00) in Metropolitan Manila, exclusive of interest and costs (Sec. 1(A), as amended by A.M. No. 02-11-09-SC, November 12, 2002), among others.
Under the said rule, the process is simplified. After the plaintiff files a complaint, the defendant is given 10 days to answer. If any cross claim or counterclaim is raised in the defendant’s answer, the party concerned is likewise given 10 days to respond. (Sec. 5, Ibid.) This is followed by a preliminary conference set not later than 30 days after the last answer is filed to discuss matters such as possible amicable settlement, stipulations and admissions of the parties, and other matters. (Sec. 7, Id.) The court will then issue an order stating the matters taken up during the conference within five days after its termination. (Sec. 8, Id.) From the said order, the parties are required to submit the affidavits of their witnesses and other evidence on the factual issues, together with their position papers setting forth the law and the facts relied upon within the next 10 days. (Sec. 9, Id.) Thereafter, the court will review the case and render judgment within 30 days after receipt of the last affidavits and position papers, or the expiration of the period for filing the same, unless the court requires the parties to submit additional affidavits or other evidence to clarify certain matters. In which case, the court shall render judgment within 15 days after the receipt of the last clarificatory affidavits, or the expiration of the period for filing the same.
Please take note that the rules expressly allow, or rather mandate courts to render judgment on the basis of the affidavits, pleadings and position papers submitted by the parties, and are enjoined to hold hearings only where it is necessary to do so to clarify factual matters (Odsigue vs. Court of Appeals, 233 SCRA 626). It authorizes the court to admit affidavits and position papers in lieu of oral testimony of persons in court. Moreover, the parties, as well as the courts, are provided with short and definite periods to file pleadings, or issue notices, orders or decisions to prevent delay. These measures contribute to effectively minimize the time required to hear a case.
Please be informed that this rule also applies to all cases of forcible entry and unlawful detainer, irrespective of the amount of damages or unpaid rentals sought to be recovered, and in criminal cases involving violation of traffic laws, rules and regulations, rental law, municipal or city ordinance, offenses involving damage to property through criminal negligence where the imposable fine does not exceed ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00), and other criminal cases where the penalty prescribed by law is imprisonment not exceeding six months, or a fine not exceeding (P1,000.00), or both. (Sec. 1, Supra)
Before filing the case, please be advised to send a demand letter to pay so signed by your lawyer, otherwise you will be constrained to file a case for sum of money in court.
We hope that we were able to address your concerns. Please bear in mind that this opinion is based on the facts you narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary if facts are changed or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org