Small Claims in the Philippines

**This topic is intended to be shared to legal-aged readers. If you are under-aged, kindly discontinue reading unless you are with an adult who’s able to give you proper guidance in this matter. **

I have recently been thru a small claims case here in the Philippines. Don’t worry guys, I didn’t do anything wrong to anybody. Instead, I was the one who was wronged. So you are safe with me. 😉

Let us not dig into my story cause I know that it will either bore you to death or kill you from excitement. Either way, it will still kill you and you’ll end up dead. Haha

I’m sorry for being a bit morbid and for talking about deaths, I’ve been watching Elementary, Blacklist, and The Walking Dead lately and it’s affecting me. *Yikes!*

Let’s go back to our main topic for today…

A lot of us have entertained the thought of suing someone at least once in our lives. It may be a friend or acquaintance who owed you money, a tenant who didn’t pay his lease, a landlord who didn’t give back your security deposit, or any other situation you’ve been in which involves the collection of a certain sum of money. Many of us dismiss the thought since we can already foresee the cost it will bring in our pockets. It is a well-known fact that lawyers are not cheap. The money you will be spending on a lawyer might even be higher than the amount you are supposed to collect from the person who owes you. So, who in their right mind would do that, right? Unless you are a person who has money to spend. If so, then please adopt me *puppy eyes*. >0< LOL, I’m kidding.

Luckily, for people like me who are both sane not to spend on lawyers more than the money to be collected and don’t really have much in their pockets, in short BROKE, the Small Claims Cases have been made available to the Philippines.

Just a bit of a background check…

Small claims court is a special court wherein the rules are simplified, the setting is informal,  the process is easier and faster, disputes are resolved quickly ( State of California, DCA), and… for the best part…. CHEAP.

This special court was finally implemented in the Philippines on March 2010 and, after seeing a high success rate, an improved and revised rules of procedure was enacted on February 2016 (Republic of the Philippines Supreme Court, Manila).

Procedure

So here are the steps that you must follow before and during the filing of your case.

  1. When trying to resolve the situation with the person who owes you money fails, go to their barangay and try resolving it there. Agreements will be formed and signed by the parties and the witnesses, the barangay officials.
  2. After the other party fails to deliver, which then breaks the agreement formed in the barangay, ask the officials for a Certificate to File Action. The Certificate to File Action is a document that will certify that you tried to resolve the issue on your own and with the barangay first before filing the case to the court.
  3. Collect all documents you have which are related to the case and can be used as proof. This will strengthen your chance to win and would make it easier for the judge to understand your story. Remember, the court always base its judgement on the evidence you show them. So bring all documents like receipts, letters, contracts, pictures of conversations, and the Certificate to File Action. Make sure to bring the original copies when you file your case.
  4. Fill in Form-1-SCC and Form-1-A-SCC. There is a form available online but you can also get a copy from the municipal trial court. Small claims cases are usually held in your municipality’s trial court. As for me, I went to the window which processes small claims cases. This will actually do you good as you can ask questions or clarify whatever concerns you may have.
  5. After filling up the forms, photocopy it and the other documents that you will be passing for evidence. Complete copies for the judge and the person you will be filing a case on. If you have multiple people to file a case on, provide a set of copies for each one. The original copy will be your copy but they’ll be needing it so that they can certify the photocopies. Make sure to bring all the documents that you would like to use as evidence. You will not be allowed to bring additional evidence to the court upon the day of your trial.
  6. After you have completed all the copies for the documents needed, file your case at the small claims window of your municipality’s trial court. You will need to pay a fee for it. I think the amount will depend on the money you will be collecting. I would suggest that you ask them first.
  7. After filing and paying, the staff will give you your copy. You will have to wait for the announcement on which branch or judge will hear your case. They use a draw lots method to identify which case goes to which branch. I believe that this is to avoid the use of connections if ever you or the person you’ll be filing a case on knows the judge of a certain branch. You will then wait for the sheriff to give you a Notice of Hearing. The sheriff will also be sending a Notice of Hearing, Summon, and copy of the evidences you passed to the other party.

Things to take note:

  1. Terms:

Plaintiff- The person filing the case

Defendant- The person being filed a complaint on.

  1. One mistake I did when I passed the documents I have for evidence is that I printed a timeline of the events that happened. DO NOT DO THIS. I forgot that all the evidence I submitted will also be seen by the defendant. Both parties are given a month before the trial to review the evidences. Therefore, doing this would get rid of your leverage.
  2. Your case will be heard at least 30 days after you have filed it. It is highly encouraged that you seek the help of an advisor before the trial. Ask all the questions you have like how to handle the case, how to present your side, and what will be the best options for you to be able to get your money back.
  3. Make sure to put the address of the defendant where you know s/he can surely be found. If you don’t, and the sheriff wasn’t able to locate the defendant on the address you have given, you will be asked to serve the notice on your own and your case will be moved to another day or month/s. This will postpone everything and you would have to wait again.
  4. Do not expect that you will be able to collect anything immediately.

Well guys, I hope this helps you. I will be posting another blog on how to prepare for your small claims trial and what happens inside the court and probably after.

Remember our motto? Even the Smallest Detail can Matter.

This doesn’t only apply to our nails but also to our everyday lives, especially to court cases. 😉

References:

http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/small_claims/basic_info.shtml

http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/smallclaims/SMALL%20CLAIMS%20PAMPHLET.pdf

CHECK OUT THE SECOND PART HERE:

SMALL CLAIMS IN THE PHILIPPINES PART 2

Do you have any comments, questions, or any suggested topic? Hit the comment section or like my page on facebook @spontanaileous.

Follow me on twitter: https://twitter.com/Spontanaileous

See you in the next blog!

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The Philippines: A Paradise- Ifugao

I have been posting a lot about nails lately and have not really filled up the other categories of my blog. So here I am guys, writing about the adventure I had. I also wanted to apologize for not being able to post some blogs recently. And to express my sincerest apology, I will give you guys…… Kisses – *Mwah Mwah Mwah Mwah Mwah* …. Grossed out? Don’t be cause I love you guys }:>
For this Philippines trip, I went around with a special someone. Yes, he’s a guy. I know guys, thank you for your applause and congratulations. Woohoo! Relationship Goals! Haha.

Ifugao… is a marvelous place.

I am not saying this because my mom is from there and I’m proud to be a cordilleran but because the famous Banaue Rice Terraces are indeed breathtaking. I have been visiting Ifugao since I was young and, up until now, it still amazes me.

Before we could reach Hunduan, we first had to travel from Baguio to Banaue, Ifugao. Traveling from Baguio to Banaue is quite fun but not if you are not used to curvy roads. What’s that? You are saying you are ok with even 15 mins of curvy roads? Oh honey, I am not talking about 15 mins but 3 hours of curvy roads. Oh don’t be scared. It’s nothing. It’s fun! Especially if you take the public van like us and the van doesn’t have that much passengers. The most fun part is when your driver drives like a maniac given those curvy roads. Hahaha. Now, now. I’m not scaring you. I just want to suggest that before you take the trip–

Take some motion sickness pills.

If there are men reading this, PLEASE, don’t think that you are so macho that you don’t need the pills. Swallow your pride and take it. Unless… I think you know what the unless part is :p . Guys and girls, bring plastic bags too just in case. 😉

The travel time from Baguio to Banaue is normally 6 hours. If there are no traffics along the way and/or your driver speeds like ours, then you’ll be able to reach Banaue for only 5 hours. We paid a 300+ PHP fee for the van. The bus will be about the same. If you want to take the bus, kindly check with the bus schedules with the ticketing office. When we went there at 8 am, on the day of our trip, to ask them if they had a bus leaving at around that time, the staff told us that they only had the 9:30 pm bus scheduled for that day. If you want to take the night trip bus then you can go to the Ohayami bus station near Andok’s burnham. Luckily, there were vans going to our destination so we just took one. When you get to Banaue, you can check in at the Inn or hotel that you booked. I don’t think there are hotels after Banaue. As for us, we went straight to Hapao, Hunduan since I have a relative there (lots actually). You can ride a jeep going there. If you took the bus and want to go straight to see the terraces but don’t know where the jeep terminal is, you can ask around. If you took the van then you could just tell the van to drop you off at the jeep terminal. You could also hire a tricycle to take you there. However, it may be a bit more expensive, especially if you are a foreigner, so I would suggest that you just negotiate with the tricycle driver to drive you around for a fee.

If you want to walk around the terraces or maybe hike to the famous Bogyah hot springs, it would be better to have a local guide you.

The paths can be very confusing and I don’t think Google Maps or any map can help you.

If I am not mistaken, there are locals who offer tour services. There’s a high chance that your tour guide will also be able to give you fun facts. Sadly, I won’t be able to give you any information on how much it would cost as I haven’t been able to ask and we had personal tour guides…my relatives.

A few minutes after arriving at my cousin’s place, where we stayed, we tried climbing the betel nut trees planted in front of the house. Those trees are still young and so they are not that tall. For someone who is not used to climbing trees like the betel nut, coconut, or even palm trees, the “short”trees became a challenge. Guess who won? *drum roll* Me!! Bwahahahahaha…. I’m kidding. Both of us won. I was better in climbing the trees and my boyfriend was better in going down. So maybe it was a tie. 🙂

 

After climbing the trees, we decided to go to the river since the house is only a few feet away from it. We were planning on taking a bath there but then the water was too cold as the clouds are getting darker and the rain was just waiting to fall. I decided not to go in but my brave companion didn’t fear the cold water and so he still went in… just for 5 minutes tho. We had to head back as the rain was coming. Just a fair warning guys,

the paths in the terraces are so narrow that only one person can fit.

So it’s like a one way path walk. Be very careful when walking. Also, some of the stairs may just be rocks like the one in the picture below so be very careful. I think they have cemented most of the stairs but there are some that are not yet fixed, especially the ones going to the river.

Walking up the rock stairs from the river.

We rested for the night and woke up early in the morning to eat our breakfast. After getting ready, we started our hiking trip to my grandma’s house. My uncle was our guide. My grandma’s house was probably two to three mountains away from where we were staying. You might be thinking, why didn’t you use a car or a bike? Well, my dear friends,

Unlike the main road, there is no space for any kind of transportation in the terraces. You will have to walk if you want to reach your destination.

For people who are not good with hiking or cardio exercises, if you ever tried hiking the distance we did, you would definitely die a lot of times

but trust me when I say it is all worth it.

Going all the way up the mountains will make your trip way more rewarding than taking pictures of the terraces from the viewpoints. You will be able to see the amazing view and the magnificent work of the ancestors of one of the proud groups in the Cordillera. The beauty of the terraces crafted from the mountains will put you in awe. Just make sure you don’t drop your jaw. :>

After an hour or two of playing, my uncle and cousin butchered and cooked a chicken for lunch, old school. Most households there would have their own chickens or ducks walking around the place. In addition to that, most still use a dirty kitchen, most likely their only kitchen, to cook their meals. My uncle also made us taste the rice wine that my granny made. It was really sweet. My companion also tried chewing the famous betel nut of the Ifugaos. I tried it when I was young and I got dizzy after only a few chews but as for my beloved, not only did he not get dizzy but he also thought it tasted like beef jerky. *clap clap* Praise his taste buds. Haha. The good thing about having a personal tour guide is that they’ll be able to show you their way of living. You’ll also be able to gather more information. They will treat you like family. If you want one, maybe i can hook you up with my uncle or someone else. 😉

We waited for the rain to stop before heading back to the place where we were staying to fix our bags since we were traveling to Manila that evening. Please remember to wear non-slippery slippers or shoes during your hike, especially during rainy season. I almost died seeing my partner slip, but luckily not fall down, countless times.

I asked my cousin in Banaue to buy the tickets for us . It would be best for you to buy your tickets beforehand. Especially during peak seasons. The tickets were 450 PHP each. The only way to get to Banaue from Hunduan in the afternoon is by tricycle or private car. Jeepneys only travel to Banaue at 5:00 in the morning. We traveled by tricycle at 4 pm and paid 400 PHP. Tricycle drivers ask for more at that time because they were worried of getting home at night. When we went there, slides from the recent typhoon were still evident and it was also raining so tricycle drivers had the right to be scared and ask for more money. Plus, we didn’t really have any other choice.

The traveling time from Banaue to Manila is 10 hours. It would be best to use the Grab app when you get to the Manila terminal. There will be lots of taxi drivers ogling at you when you get off of the bus. And of course, they will be asking thrice the usual price to take you to any destination. When we were in Manila, we always used Grab. If you have Uber, then you can use that too. It is way safer and probably cheaper. This is especially true for people coming from and going to the airport.

Do you have any comments, questions, or any suggested topic? Hit the comment section or like my page on facebook @spontanaileous.

Follow me on twitter: https://twitter.com/Spontanaileous

See you in the next blog!