Before anything else, let it be clear that you can only collect a personal loan through the Small Claims Court when the amount of the debt does not exceed P300,000.00 if you’re outside Metro Manila, or does not exceed P400,000.00 if you’re within Metro Manila, exclusive of interest and other charges. Also, the claim or demand must be one of the enumeration below:
(a) For money owed under any of the following:
- Contract of Lease;
- Contract of Loan;
- Contract of Services;
- Contract of Sale; or
- Contract of Mortgage;
(b) For damages arising from any of the following:
- Fault or negligence;
- Quasi-contract; or
(c) The enforcement of a barangay amicable settlement or an arbitration award involving a money claim covered by this Rule pursuant to Sec. 417 of Republic Act 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991.
In other words, should your claim exceed the threshold amount or was obtained through other sources of obligation not listed above, then it is not covered by the Rules on Small Claims Cases and must be collected through another forum because it is not within the jurisdiction of the Small Claims Court. I suggest you consult a lawyer for that.
Now, let us say that your claim is covered by the said rule. Below is a detailed flowchart of the steps that you need to take to collect the same:
If the defendant lives in the same city or municipality where you are residing, you must first file a complaint in the Office of the Barangay where he/she is living. This is a condition sine qua non or a prerequisite before the court can fully acquire jurisdiction over the case. The main role of the Barangay, the Lupong Tagapamayapa in particular, is to help you reach an amicable settlement with the defendant. So, I suggest that during the conciliation proceedings, you go there with an open mind on the possibility of arriving at a reasonable compromise to fast track the settlement of the case.
Should there be no agreement reached therein, you will be issued a Certification to File Action by the Barangay, which you need to attach to your formal complaint when you file it to the Small Claim Court. Likewise, should there be an agreement reached between you and the defendant, yet he/she refused to comply with it, you can also file a case in the Small Claims Court after being issued the necessary certification from the Barangay.
To prepare your formal complaint, you may download the Statement of Claims and the Verification and Certification of Non-Forum Shopping here. You may likewise check if there is an updated version of those in the official website of the Supreme Court or the Office of the Court Administrator.
After downloading, you fill in the blanks with the details of your case before printing. You must indicate your full name, complete address as well as that of the defendant. You must also indicate the full circumstances leading to the owing of the amount you are claiming. Then, you attach the necessary documents or proof to substantiate such debt.
Once you have prepared those, have the Verification and Certification of Non-Forum Shopping portion thereof notarized, then you are now ready to file it to the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) having jurisdiction of your residence or that of the defendant, whichever suits you best. By the way, it could also be named Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC) or Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) depending on the location/s that is within its territorial jurisdiction. At any rate, let us just call it the Municipal Trial Court or MTC, for brevity.
There will be a filing fee, so you must be ready for that, unless you are allowed to litigate as an indigent.
After filing, you must wait for the schedule of the hearing. This may take a few days since the court has to personally summon the defendant in order to acquire jurisdiction over his person.
There is a possibility that the defendant may reach out to you for a settlement while waiting for the schedule of the hearing. Should all of the debt be paid already, let the defendant sign with you a Joint Motion for the dismissal of the case, which sample thereof can be downloaded here. However, if the settlement is not yet full, you both sign a Motion for Approval of Compromise Agreement that you can download here. Just fill in the blanks to completely indicate what you have agreed upon. Then, file it to the court thereafter.
Should the above-mentioned settlement did not happen, during the hearing, you must once again open your mind to the possibility of arriving at a compromise agreement. It is the court’s duty to first exert efforts to convince the parties to an amicable settlement, so don’t be surprised if it will do so before the hearing proper.
After the hearing, wait for the court’s decision. If the court rules not in your favor, please read the legal basis thereof. It could be that the defendant’s obligation had already been extinguished or that he never was obligated in the first place.
If the court rules in your favor, do not celebrate just yet. The Decision cannot be executed immediately unless you file a motion for the execution thereof. You may download the draft of the Motion for Execution here. So, should the defendant still refuse to pay even with such Decision in your favor, file the said motion and let the court’s Sheriff do the collection of such debt for you. After that, you can now celebrate.
Hope this step by step process helps you collect that debt you’ve been longing to collect in a peaceful and orderly manner. Should you have any comments or questions, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article is not offered as a legal advice or opinion. It is for informational and educational purposes only.