My sister, who is working in the US, lent P75,000 to a family friend when she went home to the Philippines for a vacation. The debt remained unpaid for one year after the agreed date of payment. We consulted our friends and they advised us to file a small claim case.
We were told to just go and directly file a case at our City Hall of Justice. What documents are we going to prepare before going there? How much will we bring for the filing fee?
Dear B. Zamora,
A small claim case is one filed with the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts in Cities, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts involving actions which are: (a) purely civil in nature where the claim or relief prayed for by the plaintiff is solely for payment or reimbursement of sum of money, and (b) the civil aspect of criminal action, or reserved upon the filing of the criminal action in court, pursuant to Rule 111 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure (Section 4, A.M. No. 08-8-7-SC entitled “Rule of Procedure for Small Claims Cases”). The amount subject of the claim shall not exceed P100,000 exclusive of interest and cost (Section 2, A.M. No. 08-8-7-SC).
A small claim action is commenced by filing with the abovementioned courts an accomplished and verified Statement of Claim in duplicate, accompanied by a Certification of Non-Forum Shopping and two (2) duly certified photocopies of the actionable document/s subject of the claim, as well as the affidavits of witnesses and other evidence to support the claim (Section 5, A.M. No. 08-8-7-SC).
We advise you to secure first a copy of the Statement of Claim and the Certificate of Non-forum Shopping, which are available at the Office of the Clerk of Court, so you can review the same. You should attach thereto a copy of the contract/agreement regarding the loan, if there be any, and demand letter, if one was already sent. If your sister did not yet send a demand letter, we suggest that you do it before the filing of the claim. In addition thereto, you should also attach, if there be any, a certified true copy of the issued certificate to file action from the barangay, which is given to you if mediation therein failed. A mediation by the Lupon Tagapamaya of a barangay is required if your family friend is residing in the same city or municipality or in a barangay of a different city or municipality which is adjoining your barangay or when both of you agreed to submit your differences to amicable settlement by an appropriate lupon (Section 408, Local Government Code). Since the debt is due to your sister, a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) duly authenticated by the Philippine Embassy or Consulate Office in the USA is needed in order for you to represent her in all actions necessary to collect the debt. Such SPA shall also be attached to the Statement of Claim to be filed in court.
As to the payment of filing fee, the court shall collect the amount of P1,000 based on Section 7, Rule 141, Rules of Court which provides for payment of the said amount if the claim in court does not exceed P100,000.
Please be reminded that the above legal opinion is based solely on our appreciation of the problem that you have stated. The opinion may vary when other facts are stated.