Philippines retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno left another legacy in the judiciary system by creating “Small Claims Court.” It aims to dispense justice at a better and faster rate.
Usually, people with small issues and involving small amounts of money do not go to court for justice or settlement because of the long process: they need to spend for an attorney to represent them, they need to attend the hearings, etc. Long procedures and valuable money are needed to deal with even a small issue, and yet the resolution of the case is still long and undetermined.
So, how does this so-called “Small Claims Court” work? This court hears cases worth 100, 000 pesos and below. The complainant just needs to go to the Office of the Clear of Court to file his or her complaint. Upon filing, submission of necessary documents is needed accompanying the complaint. Also, the complainant needs to fill in a statement of claims, and submit his or her documentary evidence. After the abovementioned procedures, the case will be raffled off and the respondent will be issued a subpoena for a hearing. Small Claims Court does away with lawyers, and the great thing is that it resolves the case the same day. The judge’s decision is final, non-appealable and immediately executory.
People lending money (creditor) to others, or involved in financial family feuds and the likes, as long as the monetary value is 100, 000 pesos and below, can seek a fast resolution from this court. They can get rid of attorney fees, there is no need to attend many hearings, and the issue can be settled in a day. In this kind of court, the judiciary encourages people to settle the problem fast and easily, in a legal way at a proper forum.
In this regard, I give my high praise to retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno for such a great innovation in the country’s justice system. Hopefully, he will be allowed to participate in the coming new administration to really get the judiciary branch at work.