I am fond of subscribing to postpaid plans on different telecommunications company. Just recently, I subscribed to a plan 2499 that came with an iPhone 5S. I paid the advance payment and signed the contract with a lock-in period of 24 months. However, I stopped paying for my bills after a month. I received a notice from a law firm asking me to settle my bills as soon as possible, otherwise they will file a formal case against me. I ignored the notice, and now the law firm started calling me day in and day out. Can I be imprisoned for this? Will this case appear on any of my public documents like police clearance or NBI?
By subscribing to a post paid plan with a telecommunications company, you literally entered into a contract with the said company. As such, you are bound by the terms and conditions that are stipulated therein. If you fail to pay your monthly bills and ignore their notices, the recourse of the company is to compel you to pay the said bill by filing an appropriate civil case in court. The company may likewise opt to cancel or rescind the contract. In both cases, you are liable for the payment of damages. This is in accordance with the provision of the New Civil Code of the Philippines, to wit:
“Art. 1191. The power to rescind obligations is implied in reciprocal ones, in case one of the obligors should not comply with what is incumbent upon him. The injured party may choose between the fulfillment and the rescission of the obligation, with the payment of damages in either case. He may also seek rescission, even after he has chosen fulfillment, if the latter should become impossible.
Your failure to settle your monthly bills will not make you criminally liable, for this is just a breach of what you and the telecommunications company have agreed upon. The said company has two options, which were already discussed above. This case is civil in nature, which will enable the said company to collect from you. In no way shall you be imprisoned because of your unpaid bills. Likewise, since this does not amount to a criminal offense, non-payment of these bills alone will not give rise to the filing of a criminal case against you, which, if filed in court, will definitely appear once you secure a National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) or a Police Clearance.
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
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