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'My friend borrowed money, now she refuses to pay me back. What do I do?'

By The Soshal Network Published Nov 19, 2022 1:01 pm

Every other week, PhilSTAR L!fe addresses a reader's legal problem with help from the awesome lawyers and titas of The Soshal Network through its advice column: Asking for a Friend.

Dear L!fe friend,

A friend borrowed P10,000 from me 10 years ago. I told her she could "pay when able" and did not ask for my money back all these years. However, I recently lost my job and I'm now in need of cash. From her social media posts, I saw that my old friend now seems to be doing quite well for herself, so I asked her if she could pay me back, but she says she's "still not able" to do so because of so many reasons. Is there any way I can "force" her to pay me back? 

—Unemployed Girl

Dear Unemployed Girl, 

‘Yan ang dahilan kung bakit kinakabahan kami kapag may nag-memessage ng “Kamusta ka ‘na, friend?” Lalo na ‘pag 'di naman kami close. Alams na ang kasunod. But kudos to you for helping out a friend in need. Ang kaso, hindi na siya in need. In fact, ikaw na ang in need ngayon—in need for her to pay you back. At deserve mo naman mabayaran! 

Considering that you have not asked for your money back for 10 years, it is time to send a written formal demand to your friend requiring her to pay the amount within a period of time. Should she fail to pay the amount, you may file a small claims case with the Municipal Trial Court (for claims below P1 million) in the city where you or your friend resides. [Rules on Expedited Procedures in First Level Courts (A.M. No. 08-8-7-SC)] 

The purpose of a small claims process is to provide litigants with a simpler and more inexpensive and expeditious means of settling disputes involving money claims. 

A small claims action is commenced by filing with the court an accomplished Statement of Claim/s with Verification and Certification Against Forum Shopping, Splitting a Single Cause of Action, and Multiplicity of Suits (Form 1-SCC) and duly certified photocopies of the actionable document/s subject of the claim, affidavits of witnesses and other evidence to support the claim. If the loan is not covered by a promissory note or a loan document, you may present other pieces of evidence to prove the existence of the debt, i.e., e-mail, text, etc.

The purpose of a small claims process is to provide litigants with a simpler and more inexpensive and expeditious means of settling disputes involving money claims.

You do not need a lawyer to represent you during the small claims proceedings. In fact, the appearance of attorneys is not allowed during the hearing. The clerk of court or other court personnel may assist you with the forms and other information about the coverage, requirements, as well as procedure for small claims cases.

Should the court rule in your favor, it shall order your friend to pay the debt. You and your friend will also have an opportunity to settle the case during the proceedings. 

Please note that the filing of the small claims case should be done within 10 years from the date of written demand (if the debt is covered by a promissory note or loan document) or six years from the date of written demand (if the debt is not covered by any document).

We hope that we were able to address your concern. Note that this advice is based solely on the facts provided and our understanding of the same. 

Para naman kay “still not able” friend, ang aming piece of advice: “God knows HUDAS not pay.”

Note: The matters expressed above are personal to the authors and do not reflect the views of the office or firms they are connected with.

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