Small Claims Court to Improve Access to Justice

small claims court

Supreme Court administrator Midas Marquez and Metropolitan Trial Court Judge Jackie Crisologo-Saguisag respond to questions about the recently reintroduced Small Claims Court that improves access to justice for the common Filipino through a simple process, face-to-face settlement and speedy resolution of disputes.

In this country, justice is seen to be something that can be attained only if one has the money and right connections. What then will be the recourse of the poor who do not have either one?

In answer to that concern, the Small Claims Court was established through the Supreme Court’s special rule of procedure.  As a pioneering effort of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative, it aims to provide an efficient means for the masses to settle disputes involving monetary claims instead of the regular civil process.

The Small Claims Court, which has been in effect since October 2008, can hear and decide civil claims amounting to P100,000 and below, not including interests and costs. Claims filed under these courts include actual damages to vehicles, other personal property, real property and person; money owed under a contract of lease, loan, services, sale or mortgage; and civil actions such as payment of money covered by bounced or stopped checks.

All first level courts which include Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts in Cities and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts are designated as Small Claims Courts.

For claims not more than P100,000, a four-step process assures an affordable, informal and simple settlement of cases .

  1. The claimant must file the documents, evidences and affidavit needed for the cases at the Clerk of Court in his municipality.

  2. He or she must then pay the P1,000 fee per claim for indigents. Additional fees may be charged for non-indigent claimants.

  3. Claimant must wait for the “summons of hearing” as the case is being raffled by the court.

  4. Once called, one should appear before the designated Small Claims Court on the hearing date for the final decision and settlement mandated by the judge.

The process allows the parties to handle their own case from start to finish with ready-made forms and non-strict procedural rules, without needing a lawyer. Judges decide based on facts presented and evidence obtained in one hearing. Before hearing the case on merit, judges try to convince the parties to settle amicably in the barangay as decisions made through the Small Claims Courts are final and cannot be appealed.

“The Supreme Court hopes to increase the access to justice of indigent and disadvantaged Filipinos through the inexpensiveness, accessibility and expediency of the Small Claims Court,” said Supreme Court administrator Midas Marquez.


Inspiring Stories of Selflessness from Ramon Magsaysay Awardees

ramon magsaysay awardsThe Ramon Magsaysay Awards presentation ceremony is held every year on August 31, the birth anniversary of the late Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay. The Ramon Magsaysay Award is a fitting tribute to a well-loved President, much admired for his simplicity and service to the nation.

I was privileged to watch the presentation ceremony at the Philippine International Convention Center on Friday afternoon. I was glad to see many students attending the event. Never mind if some may have felt forced to do so. I hope that the students, and other attendees too, were moved by the courage of these men and women who dare to live a life for others.

It was very inspiring to hear this year’s Magsaysay Awards laureates speak of their unique experiences in their respective countries. They mentioned specific challenges that they continue to try to overcome. What struck me was their humility and commitment. While they expressed their gratitude and feeling of being honored to be chosen for the award, they did not see their work as extraordinary. I was particularly touched by the words of Chen Shu-Jiu, a vegetable vendor from Taiwan, who said that “I never considered myself a great person.”  But she gives whatever she has to those in need, because “Everyone has something to offer,” and believes that what’s important is the willingness to help and make a difference. Inspiring too were the words of Martin Luther King as echoed by Bangladeshi environmental activist Syeda Rizwana Hasan to show her passion for her cause: “No, we are not satisfied and will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Ramon Magsaysay Awards 2012

The Ramon Magsaysay Awards 2012 laureates, with President Aquino. Photo from the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

In his speech, President Noynoy Aquino paid tribute to the late Secretary Jesse Robredo, a Ramon Magsaysay awardee in 2000. He expressed his sadness over the loss of a friend and a public servant. But the President also expressed optimism that there are more people, in the Philippines and elsewhere, who continue their work as great servant-leaders in the mold of Magsaysay and Robredo, as exemplified by all laureates of the Ramon Magsaysay Awards Foundation. May the likes of them increase. May we aspire to be like them, and find the courage and willingness to make a difference.

Esquire Financing and Philippine Franchise Association: Helping SMEs Grow

esquire financing

Mr. Rajan Uttamchandani, CEO of Esquire Financing

Last year, more than 124,000 franchisees offered the products and services of over 1,100 franchisors in the country. This translated to more than a million jobs generated and a total of US$9.45B in output, which is equal to 5% of the country’s total gross domestic product (GDP). These figures make the Philippines the leader in Southeast Asia in terms of franchise concept development. 

The Philippine Franchise Association acknowledges that this growth is fueled by the entry of new players from micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the continued rise of the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, and the introduction of indigenous and food concepts.

Esquire Financing Inc. (EFI) recognizes the potential in funding the development of emerging enterprises, especially now when there is positive economic growth in the country. “MSMEs are the pillars of growth of the Philippine economy. They will catapult economic production into greater numbers through job development,” Esquire President/CEO Rajan Uttamchandani stated.

Established in April 2011, Esquire Financing serves the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises that are in the growth stage. The company’s mission is “To equip emerging entrepreneurs with the right mindset, essential skill-sets, and the necessary financial support to achieve sustainable business growth.”

To learn more about how EFI can help you grow your SME with its fast and efficient financial solutions, visit, or contact or call 0917-5135573.

Finding The Right Furniture for A Stylish Home

sm north edsa interior zone

We see pictures of beautiful homes on TV,  movies and magazines. And we sigh and wonder how will we ever make our home look anything like the stylish space above.  Wonder no more as the Philippine School of Interior Design and College of Saint Benilde partnered with SM North EDSA to bring the Designers Guild Series seminars at the mall’s Interior Zone lobby.

Last Saturday, August 25, expert Interior Designer Cai Lim-Regala talked about the factors to consider in buying the right furniture for the home.


Before enumerating the factors, Regala divides the home into 4 areas where furniture selection is crucial: (1) outdoor and lanai area, (2) living room, (3) dining room and (4) bedroom.

Common factors to consider for all design areas are style, size and shape of furniture, comfort, quality and budget. The style unifies the design of the home. The size and shape of the furniture is considered for proportion, and so as not to waste precious space. The last three are pretty much self-explanatory.

Outdoor and Lanai

  • Function answers the question on how the space will be primarily used and will determine what furniture will be included.
  • Material
  • Climate and weather
  • Will furniture feet sit firmly on the surface without scratching?
  • Look for good workmanship

Living Room

  • Lifestyle also pertains to function. Will the room be used as a home theater area, or a party room to entertain guests?

Dining Room

  • Family size will determine the size of the dining table.
  • Eating habits and lifestyle. Where does the family eat? Is there an everyday dining area and a formal dining area?
  • Color affects our appetite.
  • Material


  • Bedroom furniture set may or may not include items that  fit your room in terms of size or style.

A good insight shared by Regala is the realization that designing for a small space or a big space is equally challenging. It is also important to ask not just the owners of the home, but also other space dwellers, like the children who will occupy the bedrooms, for design inputs. This will ensure that the space will be unique for them, and will be appreciated.

The Designers Guild seminars are open to the public and are free. Catch the last one in the series this Saturday, September 1, 2012 at the Interior Zone lobby of SM North EDSA. Topic will be on floral styling and design, and the speaker will be Interior Designer Benjo Pacson. Seminar starts at 2pm.

Caritas Manila Continues Relief Efforts For Flood Victims

Caritas Damayan poster

Even as last week’s rains in Metro Manila and nearby provinces have stopped, some areas remain flooded. Many flood victims are still  in evacuation centers.

Caritas Damayan, the Catholic Church’s relief assistance and emergency program, continues with its relief efforts for the flooding victims. As of August 15, Caritas Damayan has provided relief assistance to families in the parishes under the Archdiocese of Manila and the Dioceses of Caloocan, Cubao, Pasig, Antipolo, and Malolos.

With Tropical Storm Helen entering and exiting Northern Luzon this week, there are more calamity victims who need our help. Let us do our share in helping those in need. We can make our donations through Caritas Manila:

For Donations in kind, please call Caritas Manila at telephone numbers 562-0020 up to 25 local 22 to 24.

For Cash Donations, you may deposit to:

Account Name: Caritas Manila, Inc.
Peso Bank Savings Account:
BPI S/A 3063-5357-01
BDO S/A 5600-45905
Metrobank S/A 175-3-17506954-3
UnionBank C/A 00-030-001227-5
Dollar Savings Account:
Account Name: Caritas Manila, Inc.
BPI Dollar Account: 003064-0033-55
PNB Dollar Account: 252-703687-1


3rd Time in Manila for Maroon 5


maroon 5 concert poster


Next month, Maroon 5 returns to Manila for the 3rd time.

I got to watch Maroon 5’s first concert here in Manila in 2008 at the Araneta Coliseum. It was such a thrill to see and hear them live, performing hits like She Will Be Loved and This Love from their debut album Songs About Jane. I wasn’t very familiar yet with the band’s music at that time, and so most of the songs they played, which came from their new album that year, It Won’t Be Soon Before Long, were new to me. In time I got to like the new songs, and I would download and play entire Maroon 5 albums in my beloved iPod Nano.  I remember the song that I played over and over again during that period of Maroon 5 obsession was Nothing Lasts Forever. Today, some Maroon 5 songs are still on my playlist.

The band went back for another Manila concert last year that was held at the SMX Convention Center. It seems the band loves their Manila fans so much because a 3rd Manila concert will be happening on September 18 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. And it looks like their Manila fans love Maroon 5 as much because tickets for the September 18 concert were quickly sold out.

But here comes good news! For Maroon 5 fans who were unable to get tickets to this already sold out concert, you still have a chance to watch your favorite band. If you buy any one of selected JBL Multimedia Speakers shown below, you will be given a free concert ticket. You will get one  Upper Box B ticket for every purchase of  On Air Wireless (1) or  OnStage IV (3). For every purchase of 200iD (2) or OnTime Micro (4), you will get one General Admission ticket. JBL is a designer and builder of  audio equipment for the home, the entertainment industry and  the automotive industry. Participating outlets for this promo are: Digital Walker, Power Mac, Electroworld, Western Appliance, Automatic Center, Beyond Innovations, Listening Room, Anita Cell, Accent Micro, and TCA.

JBL Speakers

Upon purchase of any of the above items, you will be given a claim voucher which you must bring, together with the official receipt, to Ticketnet at the Yellow Gate of the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City. Tickets may be claimed until 9pm of  September 17.

If you’ve been thinking of buying a multimedia speaker for yourself or for someone else, now is a good time to do it. Enjoy the superb sound of JBL multimedia speakers and watch Maroon 5 live!

Be at Il Terrazzo

Il Terrazzo


UPDATE (09August): Activities scheduled for this weekend will be re-scheduled. New dates TBA.


A rainy day makes you want to just stay at home and sleep the day away.  But what if that rainy day stretches into a week or two, like this freaky weather we currently have in Manila? You’d get bored to death and be depressed staying at home watching TV or surfing the net all day and night. You wouldn’t want to miss out on a nice although wet day to reward yourself or have a night out with some gold old friends. With this weather, you would want to go somewhere different and cozy to lift up your spirits.

The place where you want to be seen in when you’re in Quezon City is Il Terrazzo, a lifestyle hub that combines the recreational mall atmosphere and the exciting  nightlife scene of the Tomas Morato area. A compact, 3-storey mini-mall, it has a number of satisfying restaurants, specialty retail shops,  health and wellness centers, a trendy events place and a Rustan’s Supermarket.

This coming weekend, August 11-12, is a good time to check out Il Terrazzo as it will have a gourmet food market, along with great deals, discounts, and freebies from participating establishments.

il terrazzo

Located at Tomas Morato extension corner Scout Madrinan, near the Boy Scouts rotunda (Timog and Morato intersection), Il Terrazzo is near both ABS-CBN and GMA networks. You might just bump into some of your favorite stars while doing your shopping or having a drink.

No reason to feel gloomy in this rainy weather. Head on now to Il Terrazzo and have a great time!