When can small claims be instituted?

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Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
My officemate owes me P26,000.00. It has been five months since he promised to pay me but until now all he gives me are excuses. My boss told me that I should file a small-claims case. What is this case and how do I prepare for it?
Rowena

Dear Rowena,
A small-claims case is a civil action that may be instituted for the payment or reimbursement of money that is owed by one party to another, not exceeding Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (P200,000.00), on account of a contract of lease, loan, services, sale or mortgage. This action is also applicable for claiming liquidated damages arising from contracts or to enforce barangay (village) amicable settlement or an arbitration award involving a money claim covered by this rule pursuant to Sec. 417 of Republic Act (RA) 7160, or The Local Government Code of 1991 (Section 5, A.M. No. 08-8-7-SC, or the 2016 Revised Rules of Procedure for Small-Claims Cases).

Corollary thereto, the filing of a small-claims case against your officemate may be the proper remedy for you to avail of, if the P26,000.00 you are demanding from him arose from any of those aforementioned bases.

To initiate your legal claim, it will be best for you to give him a demand letter, which briefly narrates your claim for payment, the bases thereof as well as the period within which he needs to comply with the same. If you and your officemate reside in the same city or municipality, you should file a complaint before the barangaywhere he resides.

If no settlement is reached, you must file your Statement of Claim before the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC), Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), Municipal Trial Court (MTC) or Municipal Circuit Trial Courts (MCTC) that has jurisdiction over your place of residence. Please be advised that you can secure a Statement of Claim Form (Form 1-SCC) from the Office of the Clerk of Court. This must be accomplished and verified in duplicate and accompanied by a Certification Against Forum Shopping, Splitting a Single Cause of Action and Multiplicity of Suits (Form 1-A-SCC), two 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 6, Id.).

The court will issue a Summon, which will direct your officemate to submit his verified Response, if the court does not find any basis to dismiss your claim, as well as a Notice of Hearing. (Section 12, Id.) On the scheduled hearing, efforts will be exerted in order to bring you and your officemate to an amicable settlement. If no settlement is reached, the hearing will proceed and be terminated within the same day. (Section 23, Id.) Any decision reached by the court will be final, executory and unappealable. (Section 24, Id.)

We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other 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 dearpao@manilatimes.net

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