MANILA – A cashless payment scheme for small claims cases has been launched by the Supreme Court (SC), the tribunal announced on Friday.
In a statement, the court said Judiciary ePayment for Small Claims, the online payment of legal fees, will be pilot-tested in close to 1,000 first-level courts nationwide.
In 2019, in a bid to make court rules more responsive to users, the SC ruled to increase the coverage of small claims cases to up to PHP400,000.
Under the Revised Rules of Procedure for Small Claims Cases, courts are mandated to resolve a case within 30 days from the day the statement of claim was filed, with parties expected to save at least 20 percent in litigation expenses since lawyers can now be dispensed with in these cases.
The move was meant to improve the country's rating in the World Bank report on the ease of doing business, which is based partly on a number of indicators, including measuring the time and cost of resolving disputes.
The launch was made following the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the SC and Easypay Global EMI Corp. (EGEC), the owner of Fortune Pay which is a mobile wallet app that enables users to enjoy an easy, fast, and secure way of digital payment.
All Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts in Cities, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts can now accept payments for small claims through the Fortune Pay mobile application.
Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez and EGEC president Paul Ian Chan were the principal signatories of the MOA.
Deputy Court Administrator Raul Villanueva and EGEC marketing director El Joseph Paculanang signed as witnesses.
The MOA was signed simultaneously in two locations -- at the Division Hearing Room of the Supreme Court on Padre Faura Street, Manila and at the Rizal Park Hotel in Ermita.
The ePayment services of Fortune Pay is the newest addition to the growing roster of collection channels that will be later on integrated with the Judiciary ePayment Solution currently under development by the SC.
On March 15, 2021, the SC signed a MOA with Union Bank of the Philippines for the latter to develop an ePayment solution for the Judiciary.
The Judiciary ePayment Solution, open to all banks and their account holders, is an application designed to provide the Supreme Court and all the courts in the country the option to receive fees and payments digitally from litigants, their counsels, and representatives on a safe, secure, real-time, and 24/7 basis from anywhere at their convenience.
It involves an automated tool that will allow authorized judiciary personnel to process and manage payment related activities swiftly and efficiently.
It is aimed at streamlining the processes of assessment and payment of court fees, increasing accessibility of the public to judicial services, increasing transparency and accountability, and providing the SC with efficient accounting and auditing mechanisms. (PNA)