Preparing for a small claims case – a personal narrative

Preparing for a small claims case – a personal narrative

(This would be the first in a series of posts concerning my experience with the small claims court here in the Philippines. I am writing about this publicly for the first time with the aim of helping those who may be thinking of going through this process too. – MPM)

We should not trust someone so easily over money, even if you think that person is a friend just because you are in the same profession with the same employer. Unfortunately, I learned that lesson in an extremely hard and embarrassing way.

Nearly seven years ago, I met a fellow public senior high school teacher we will refer to as Josie (not her real name). We were both hired by the Department of Education-Quezon City in 2016. Though we were assigned to different schools within the division, we became close enough for her to begin sharing with me her family’s supposed financial struggles. 

Because of my naivete, Josie successfully manipulated me not only to lend her huge sums of money but also to invest in what she promised to be a profitable food cart business to be located in one of the universities in Valenzuela City.

Though items like the freezer and stove were purchased through Home Credit, no business was actually put up. And as mid-2018 approached, it became increasingly clear to me that she has no intention of actually paying her debt despite numerous promises to do so.

Around that time, I read about the country’s Small Claims Court system. It is oft-repeated that the 1987 Constitution explicitly states that no person can be imprisoned for debt. Nevertheless, the Small Claims Court provides a system where individuals and entities can sue parties for unsettled financial obligations of not more than P1,000,000. When I filed my small claims case against Josie back in October 2018, the threshold was just P300,000.

In case you are interested to pursue a small claims case against someone who owes you money, make sure to prepare the following:

  1. Any evidence that will bolster your claim about the owed money or unsettled financial obligation. This could be duly-signed contracts, bank records, wire transfers, text or online messages, etc.
  2. Demand letters addressed to the party with the financial obligation. Back in 2018, I was advised to course it through the Post Office. You can also add here text/online messages showing that you have been reaching out to the other party, but to no avail.
  3. Write an affidavit detailing what happened, then have it duly notarized.

PS: In the next post, I will be recounting my experience attending the hearing for my case.

About Author



Mark Pere Madrona

The Filipino Scribe (TFS) is managed by Mark Pere Madrona, a multi-awarded writer and licensed professional teacher from the Philippines. Mr. Madrona earned his master’s degree in history from the University of the Philippines-Diliman last 2020. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in journalism cum laude from the same university back in 2010. His area of interests includes Philippine journalism, history, and politics as well as social media. Know more about him here:

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