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Did somebody borrows you an amount of money less than Php100,000.00 and keep you
scratching your head during collection time? Worry no more, the Rule of Procedure for
Small Claims Cases will help you solve the headache.
This special rule provides a simpler and more inexpensive and expeditious means of
settling disputes involving purely money claims than the regular civil process. The process
is very simple and sometimes informal. It also allows the plaintiff to sue a defendant
without the need of a lawyer.

The following are the MADE SIMPLE Steps in filing Small Claims Case
a. The value of your claim should not exceed One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100,000.00),
exclusive of interest and costs.
a. MTC/MTCC/MCTC of the place where you live
b. MTC/MTCC/MCTC of the place where your borrower (debtor) lives
MTC - Metropolitan Trial Court
MTCC - Municipal Trial Courts in Cities
MCTC - Municipal Circuit Trial Courts


Information for the Plaintiff
Statement of Claim
Verification andCertification of Non-Forum Shopping


PRESENT DOCUMENTS to prove the loan, either

Promissory note
Demand letter
Contract signed by the defendant/respondent
Affidavit of your witnesses
Other documents to prove the loan


The court will serve summons to the respondent for him/her to file a Verified Response to
the Complaint within a non-extendible period of ten (10) days from receipt of summons.
7. CHECK THE DATE OF THE HEARING AND BE PRESENT, otherwise the case will be


A.M. No. 08-8-7-SC
Q: What is the scope of this Rule?
A. The Rule of Procedure for Small Claims Cases governs the procedure in actions for money
claims before the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts in Cities, Municipal
Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts where the value of the claim does not
exceed One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100,000.00), exclusive of interest and costs.
Q: In what actions does the rule on small claims apply?
1. Those which are purely civil in nature where the claim or relief prayed for by the plaintiff
is solely for payment or reimbursement of sum of money;

2. The civil aspect of criminal actions either filed before the institution of the criminal action
or reserved upon the filing of a criminal action in court, pursuant to Rule 111 of the Revised
Rules of Criminal Procedure (Sec. 4); and
3. The enforcement of a barangay amicable settlement or an arbitration award involving
money claims covered by the Rule, pursuant to Sec. 417 of the Local Government Code of
Q: What should the claims or demands consist of?
A: The claims or demands may be:
1. For money owed under any of following:
a. Contract of lease;
b. Contract of loan;
c. Contract of services;
d. Contract of sale; or
e. Contract of mortgage.
2. For damages arising from any of the following:
a. Fault or negligence;
b. Quasi-contracts; and
c. Contracts.
3. The enforcement of a barangay amicable settlement or an arbitration award involving a
money claim covered by this rule pursuant to Sec. 417 of the Local Government Code of
1991 (Sec. 4).
Q: How does one start a small claims case?
A: The plaintiff must first accomplish a verified Statement of Claim and certify the
information provided, stating that he has not filed any action involving the very same issue
in any other court, tribunal or agency through a verification and certification of non-forum
The Statement of Claim must be accompanied by certified duplicate photocopies of all
supporting documents.
The plaintiff then files the Statement of Claim with its accompanying documents with the
office of the clerk of court of the small claims court, personally or through mail, and pays
the correct docket and filing fees prescribed under Rule 141 of the Revised Rules of
Court (Sec. 5).

If one is an indigent, he may apply to the small claims court to qualify as an indigent, and
once qualified, he is exempt from payment of such fees (Sec. 8). However, in no case shall a
party, even if declared an indigent, be exempt from the payment of P1,000.00 fee for
service of summons and processes in civil cases (Sec. 8).
Q: When should the defendant file a response?
A: The DEFENDANT shall file with the court and serve on the plaintiff a duly
accomplished and verified response within a non-extendible period of ten (10) days
from receipt of summons. The response shall be accompanied by certified photocopies of
documents, as well as affidavits of witnesses and other evidence in support thereof. (Sec.
No evidence shall be allowed during the hearing which was not attached to or submitted
together with the Claim or Response, unless good cause is shown for the admission of
additional evidence.
Q: What is the effect if the defendant failed to file a response within the required
A: Should the defendant fail to file his Response within the required period, and likewise
fail to appear at the date set for hearing, the court shall render judgment on the same day,
as may be warranted by the facts. However, should the defendant fail to file his Response
within the required period but appears at the date set for hearing, the court shall ascertain
what defense he has to offer and proceed to hear, mediate or adjudicate the case on the
same day as if a Response has been filed
Q: Who are required to appear at the hearing?
A: The parties shall appear at the hearing personally or through a representative they may
authorize under a Special Power of Attorney to enter into an amicable settlement, to
submit to Judicial Dispute Resolution (JDR) and to enter into stipulations or admissions of
facts and of documentary exhibits (Sec. 16). However, appearance through a representative
must be for a valid cause. The representative of an individual-party must not be a lawyer,
and must be related to or next-of-kin of the individual-party. Juridical entities shall not be
represented by a lawyer in any capacity (Sec. 16).
Q: What is the effect of non-appearance of a party?
1. If the plaintiff does not appear, the claim shall be dismissed without prejudice.

2. If the defendant does not appear, the effect will be the same as failure to file a Response.
3. If both parties do not appear, the claim and counterclaim shall be dismissed with
prejudice(Sec. 18).
Q: Are lawyers allowed at the hearing?
A. Lawyers are not allowed to appear at the hearing unless they are the plaintiff or the
defendant. However, since the process is still a legal process, the parties and their
authorized representatives can still consult with a lawyer to assist them to prepare for the
hearing or for other matters outside the hearing (Sec. 17).
Q: Who is allowed to assist a party who cannot properly present his claim or defense?
A: The court, in its discretion, may allow another individual who is not a lawyer to assist
the party(Sec. 17).
Q: What is the duty of the Judge during hearing?
A. At the hearing, the judge shall exert efforts to bring the parties to an amicable settlement of
their dispute. Any settlement or resolution of the dispute shall be reduced into writing,
signed by the parties and submitted to the court for approval.
After the hearing, the court render its decision on the same day, based on the facts
established by the evidence. The decision is immediately entered by the Clerk of Court in
the court docket for civil cases and a copy thereof forthwith served on the parties.

The decision is final and unappealable, this is in line with the nature of small claims
which is designed to preclude unmeritorious appeals that result in long drawn litigation.
The rule however, does not preclude a party from filing a petition for certiorari under Rule
65 when there is grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in
relation to a judgment in a small claims action. Further, the aggrieved party can also file an
action for annulment of judgment when the requirements under the Rules of Civil
Procedure are complied with.

Revisiting Republic Act

9285: Salient Features of
Commercial Arbitration
and Challenges

Section 2 of the Republic Act 9285 declares

as follows:
It is hereby declared [that] the policy of the State [is] to actively promote party
autonomy in the resolution of disputes or the freedom of the party to make their own
arrangements to resolve their disputes. To this end, the State shall encourage and
actively promote the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) as an important
means to achieve speedy and impartial justice and declog court dockets. As such, the
State shall provide means for the use of ADR as an efficient tool and an alternative
procedure for the resolution of appropriate cases. Likewise, the State shall enlist
active private sector participation in the settlement of disputes through ADR. This Act
shall be without prejudice to the adoption by the Supreme Court of any ADR system,
such as mediation, conciliation, arbitration or any combination thereof as a means
achieving speedy and efficient means of resolving cases pending before all courts in

the Philippines which shall be governed by such rules as the Supreme Court may
approve from time to time.[1]
The Republic Act No. 9285, otherwise known as the Alternative Dispute Resolution
Act of 2004 (ADR Law), may be considered a major breakthrough in the Philippine
court system, benefitting not only Filipinos in and out of the country, but also aliens
who desire to achieve justice in the domestic courts.
The ADR Law responds to numerous calls to address the perennial issues bombarding
the Philippine court system, such as the clogging of court dockets, expensive litigation
fees, slow-paced judicial proceedings and the rigid and adversarial system of courts.
Court dockets are seriously congested due to indiscriminate filing of cases and
delayed case resolutions because of inefficiency, incompetence, sloth or laziness,
corruption or conflict of interests of court officials.[2]
According to Eduardo Ceniza (2005), a simple collection case may take as much as
two years before it is decided by the trial court and another one or two years before it
is finally decided on appeal. The more complex commercial cases can remain in
litigation for up to five or more years. The availability of appeals, frivolous or
otherwise, at different levels of the court hierarchy also contributes to undue delay in
the disposition of cases. As a consequence to slow-paced resolution of these cases, the
litigation cost in terms of legal fees and other expenses become disproportionately
Thus, in the Philippines, according to Ceniza, it is not unusual for judges to handle
more than 500 cases. And this number will continuously escalate unless measures are
adopted that dispose of cases through a systematic and sustained judicial reform
Moreover, the ADR Law addresses the indispensable effects of globalization on
commercial transactions, such as the expansion of international trade and foreign
investment,[4] which require domestic laws to adopt alternative means of dispute
resolution applicable and friendly to commerce.

With globalization and technological advancements, there is an unceasing growth of

international commercial transactions, which as a consequence, leads to the increase
in the number of commercial disputes arising from such transactions. It must be
recognized that parties involved in these transactions have varied nationalities and
their business offices are located in different countries. Moreover, the transactions
among these parties occur across borders.
Given these, when disputes arise, parties tend to choose the forum that best satisfies
their interests and desires. Thus, there arises a need for measures that would regulate
these transactions and which are equally satisfying to the parties. The ADR Law
addresses this need in the Philippines.
Thus, in the words of Leslie Chew (2006), the law seeks to revamp and to introduce
into the Philippines for the first time, specific laws which would cover the law relating
to alternative dispute resolution including international commercial arbitration.[5]
However, this law had been long overdue. In 1953, the Philippine Congress enacted
Republic Act No. 876, otherwise known as the Arbitration Law, which made
arbitration as an inexpensive, speedy and amicable method of settling disputes and as
a means of avoiding litigation. Then the Philippines became a signatory to the United
Nations Convention on the Recognition and the Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral
Awards of 1958 or the New York Convention on June 10, 1958 and the said
Convention was ratified nine years after. It was only 50 years after the passage of the
Arbitration Law that Republic Act 9285 was enacted,[6] reinforcing not only the
provisions of the Arbitration Law, but also the countrys adherence to the New York
Convention. The Alternative Dispute Resolution Act of 2004 was the consolidated
version of Senate Bill No. 2671 and House Bill No. 5654, and was signed by
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on April 2, 2004.[7]
Though the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act of 2004 pertains to a number of
processes or procedures used to resolve a dispute or controversy, other than by
adjudication of a presiding judge of a court or an officer of a government
agency, namely arbitration, mediation, conciliation, early neutral evaluation, minitrial, or any combination thereof, this paper will focus only on the salient features of

the law pertaining to international commercial arbitration, recent trends and

The UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration (The Model
Law) was adopted by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law
(UNCITRAL) on June 21, 1985. The Model Law constitutes a sound basis for the
desired harmonization and improvement of the national laws. It covers all stages of
the arbitral process from the arbitration agreement to the recognition and enforcement
of the arbitral awards and reflects a worldwide consensus on the principles and
important issues of international arbitration practice. Since its adoption by
UNCITRAL, the Model Law has come to represent the accepted international
legislative standard for a modern arbitration law and a significant number of
jurisdictions have enacted arbitration legislation based on the Model Law.[8]
The Model Law attempts to address the considerable disparities and inadequacies of
national laws of arbitration. It sets a standard for those countries which are still about
to legislate their own arbitration laws. They are encouraged to make few or slight
changes as much as possible when incorporating the Model Law into their legal
systems. And for those with established arbitration laws, the Model Law serves as
guide as they amend their laws to conform to the provisions of the Model Law. Given
these, foreign parties become more confident in engaging in international commercial
transactions, knowing that there is an international effort to adopt the Model Law in
the national laws of these countries.
In the Philippines, the Republic Act 9285 incorporated the UNCITRAL Model Law,
as evidenced by Sections 19 and 20 of Chapter 4 of the latter law.
SEC. 19. Adoption of the Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration.
International commercial arbitration shall be governed by the Model Law on

International Commercial Arbitration (the Model Law) adopted by the United

Nations Commission on International Trade Law on June 21, 1985 (United Nations
Document A/40/17) and recommended for enactment by the General Assembly in
Resolution No. 40/72 approved on December 11, 1985, copy of which is hereto
attached as Appendix A.
SEC. 20. Interpretation of Model Law. In interpreting the Model Law, regard shall
be had to its international origin and to the need for uniformity in its interpretation
and resort may be made to the travaux preparatories and the report of the Secretary
General of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law dated March
25, 1985 entitled, International Commercial Arbitration: Analytical Commentary on
Draft Trade identified by reference number A/CN. 9/264.[9]
Indeed, the adoption of the Model Law as the law on international commercial
arbitration has opened the doors for the Philippines to be to be a seat for international
commercial arbitration. Thus, it can now be said that the Philippines has become an
arbitration-friendly country.
As Eduardo Ceniza (2005) claims, the international commercial arbitration cannot
avoid the incidence and influence of national law. For one thing, arbitration cannot
take place totally without reference to its venue and, necessarily, the national law of
the venue. The lex arbitri will certainly have an influence, if not a direct bearing, upon
the procedural and other administrative aspects of the arbitration. For another thing,
arbitrators do not have power over individuals or institutions who do not submit
themselves to the jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal. Thus, to bind third parties, for
instance, to interim measures of protection, resort to the national court for assistance
becomes unavoidable. Therefore, while international commercial arbitration may
operate quite independently of national law, the national law of the place of arbitration
will always be somewhere in the background. Indeed, national law provides the
contextual framework in which all international commercial arbitration take place.[10]
Based on the above, since the ADR Law finds its roots in the Model Law, then the
convergence between the two is indeed well-pronounced.


Arbitration, as the law defines, is the voluntary dispute resolution process in which
one or more arbitrators, appointed in accordance with the agreement of the parties, or
rules promulgated pursuant to this Act, resolve a dispute by rendering an
award.[11] In arbitration, parties have freedom to choose the arbitrators who will
compose the tribunal, and the procedures and the substantive law that would govern
the proceedings.
On the other hand, commercial arbitration becomes such if it covers matters arising
from all relationships of a commercial nature, whether contractual or not.[12] These
relationships are enumerated by the law under the same provision.
In discussing the salient features of the law pertaining to international commercial
arbitration, attention must be had on the Chapter 4 of the ADR Law.
A. Interpretation of the Act
The law provides that in interpreting R.A. No. 9285, the courts are directed to give
due regard to the policy of favoring arbitration. Where action is commenced by or
against multiple parties, one or more of whom are parties to an arbitration agreement,
the court shall refer to arbitration those parties who are bound by the arbitration
agreement although the civil action may continue as to those who are not bound by
such arbitration agreement.[13]
The provision provides what the court should do when confronted with an action
involving parties to an arbitration agreement. As the law prescribes, arbitration should
be favored. Thus, cases involving parties bound by the arbitration agreement should
be referred to arbitration proceedings. Arbitration agreements cannot be defeated by
impleading or joining either as plaintiff or defendant a person who was not a party to
the arbitration agreement.
Chew (2006) declared that couple this provision with the Declaration of Policy
(favoring ADR) in Section 2 of the Act, the intent of the legislators to favor arbitration
including international commercial arbitration is not in doubt. The edict requiring the

court to have due regard to the state policy is admirable and in this writers view
timely. Even in jurisdictions where arbitration law may be said to have developed to a
mature state, judges frequently need to be reminded of the place for arbitration within
the States legal system. In a state like the Philippines where it is perhaps not unfair to
say that the practice of international commercial arbitration is still nascent, it is useful
to remind the courts as to the role and position of arbitration (italicized
B. Legal Representation in International Arbitration
Section 22 provides that in international arbitration conducted in the Philippines, a
party may be presented by any person of his choice. Provided, that such
representative, unless admitted to the practice of law in the Philippines, shall not be
authorized to appear as counsel in any Philippine court, or any other quasi-judicial
body whether or not such appearance is in relation to the arbitration in which he
Consistent with the Philippines intention to be an international commercial
arbitration center, this provision allows foreign lawyers, though not admitted to
practice law in the territory of the seat of the arbitration, to represent a party before
the international arbitral tribunal. Such foreign lawyers fall within the scope of any
person and any interpretation to the contrary would defeat the spirit of the law.
Chew (2006) made an interesting point about this provision:
It has been noted above that this provision is commendable. This, perhaps, requires
some clarification. It is sometimes thought by States that any national law which
permits lawyers who are not called to practice in the local territory would tantamount
to a surrender of sovereignty and perhaps more aptly tantamount to opening the
flood-gates to foreign lawyers to the detriment of the local bar. It is submitted that
that is a fallacy. Firstly, by enacting a provision like Section 22 of the Republic Act,
the Philippines does not in any way surrender control of the practice of law. The
permission given to foreign lawyers to practice by appearing before international
commercial arbitration is limited by its definition. Secondly, by permitting foreign

counsel representation, the Philippines immediately reassures foreign parties, more to

the point, foreign investors that they will, in international commercial arbitration
conducted in the Philippines, have access to counsel of their choice even if such
counsel are foreign lawyers. This is an important matter for foreigners who are
engaged in a dispute in a foreign territory. Finally, foreign counsel appearing in the
Philippines will invariably require assistance of local counsel. It is not to be forgotten
that in every arbitration, the lex arbitri as opposed to the substantive law of the
transaction, which parties are disputing over, will be the national law. In this case
the law of the Philippines. No foreign counsel would be foolhardy enough to purport
to act on Philippine law and would therefore rely on local counsel. This, it is
submitted, creates a welcome spin-off for the local bar who will have a new
dimension to their practice in the Philippines, that of participating in international
commercial arbitration.
To summarize the above-quoted, allowing foreign lawyers to represent a party before
an international arbitral tribunal does not tantamount to a surrender of sovereignty and
in fact would be more beneficial not only to the image of the Philippines as an
international commercial arbitration center, but also to the local bar as it exposed them
to a new dimension of practice of law.
C. Confidentiality of Proceedings
Section 23 of the ADR Law expressly declares arbitration proceedings, including the
records, evidence, and arbitral award, to be confidential and shall not be published
except (1) with the consent of the parties, or (2) for the limited purpose of disclosing
to the court of relevant documents in cases where resort to the court is allowed
Absent in the Republic Act No. 876 or Philippine Arbitration Law, this provision is
highly welcomed by businessmen who want to settle their commercial disputes
unnoticed by the general public and to safeguard their trade secrets and strategies.

At the same time, the provision sets out the grounds in which the courts may issue a
protective order to prevent or prohibit disclosure of documents or information
containing secret processes, developments, research and other information where it is
shown that the applicant shall be materially prejudiced by an authorized disclosure
D. Referral to Arbitration
The ADR Law provides that a court before which an action is brought in a matter
which is the subject matter of an arbitration agreement shall, if at least one party so
requests not later that the pre-trial conference, or upon the request of both parties
thereafter, refer the parties to arbitration unless it finds that the arbitration agreement
is null and void, inoperative or incapable of being performed.[17]
As Chew observed, the language of Section 24 is based on Article 8(1) of the Model
law. Since the language used here follows Article 8(1), the intention behind the
section must be to provide mandatory stay in circumstances which fall within the
ambit of Section. This is evident from the use of the use of the phrase A
courtshallrefer the parties to arbitration unless
It must also be noted that under the above-quoted provision, referral is dependent on
the requests. The latter can only be done in two ways: first, request made by at least
on party not late than the pre-trial conference, and second, request made both parties
after the pre-trial conference. Now, absent these requests, the court cannot refer the
parties to arbitration except upon the courts finding that the arbitration agreement is
null and void, inoperative or incapable of being performed.
E. Appointing Authority
The ADR Law defines appointing authority as used in the Model Law, which refers
to the person or institution named in the arbitration agreement as the appointing
authority; or the regular arbitration arbitration institution under whose rules the
arbitration is agreed to be conducted. Where the parties have agreed to submit their
dispute to institutional arbitration rules, and unless they have agreed to a different

procedure, they shall be deemed to have agreed to procedure under such arbitration
rules for the selection and appointment of arbitrators. In ad hoc arbitration, the default
appointment of an arbitrator shall be made by the National President of the Integrated
Bar of the Philippines (IBP) or his duly authorized representative.
There is nothing controversial in this provision except that the National President of
the IBP or his duly authorized representative, as appointing authority, must be wary
about exercising such authority. It must be exercised with wisdom and under the
principles of independence, impartiality or neutrality, and transparency. It must be
recognized the human decision-making is highly prone to prejudice and the
appointing authority must ensure that the arbitration practice in the Philippines is ran
by competent and credible arbitrators.
Thus, for Chew, it is therefore necessary for the Philippines to monitor international
perceptions towards its designation of the President of the local bar as the appointing
authority. Certainly one of the criticisms would be that it gives rise to perception that
local arbitrators or practitioners have the advantage when it comes to the appointment
of arbitrators by default. It is not suggested that the mere designation of the President
of the local bar gives rise to any real concern of a preference for locals but perception
is all important in international or transboundary disputes. For these reasons, many
centers which tout themselves as being international designate independent parties
(independent in the sense that there is no perceived link to the local bar or other local
establishment) as the appointing authority.[18]
F. Place and Venue of Arbitration
Section 30 of the ADR Law provides that the parties are free to agree on the place of
arbitration. Failing such agreement, the place of arbitration shall be in Metro Manila,
unless the arbitral tribunal, having regard to the circumstances of the case, including
the convenience of the parties shall decide on a different place of arbitration.[19]
It is widely recognized that in international commercial arbitration, parties may agree
to conduct the arbitration proceedings in a place that guarantees impartiality or
neutrality. However, when parties fail to agree, resort is had to the tribunal having
regard to circumstances of the case and convenience of the parties. In addition, the

law also provides that absent any agreement between the parties and any decision of
the tribunal as the venue, the place or venue of arbitration shall be in Metro Manila.
Leslie Chew (2006) asserted that the express fixation of the place of arbitration in
Metro Manila in case there is absence of parties agreeing or the arbitral tribunal
appointing the place of arbitration may have been necessitated by the vastness and
sprawling nature of the islands that make up the Philippines. In line with party
autonomy, the provision does not however affect the parties ability to agree to meet
anywhere however far-flung in the archipelago or elsewhere outside the Philippines.
To that extent, the provision is curious.[20]
G. Interim and Provisional Measures of Protection
The ADR Law expanded the powers of the arbitrators and defined clearly the role of
courts, as well as the arbitral tribunal, in the issuance and enforcement of
interim/conservatory measures.
Courts are permitted, as a rule, to grant interim and provisional reliefs during the
pendency of arbitral proceedings. It is also recognized that arbitral tribunals are
authorized authority to grant interim measures such as preliminary injunction,
appointment of receivers, detention, preservation and inspection of property, among
others. Even granting that both the courts and the arbitral tribunal are given the same
power, parties cannot avail of these simultaneously. Court has only authority to grant
interim measures to the extent that the arbitral tribunal has no power to act or is
unable to act effectively. The law does not provide for concurrent power of the
courts and the arbitral tribunal to grant interim measure of protection.[21] The court
must exercise this power sparingly, giving way or precedence to the exercise thereof
by the arbitral tribunal .
The ADR Act provides in Section 28, paragraph (a) that: It is not incompatible with
an arbitration agreement for a party, before constitution of the arbitral tribunal, to
request from a Court an interim measure of protection and for the Court to grant such
measure. After constitution of the arbitral tribunal and during arbitral proceedings, a
request for an interim measure of protection, or modification thereof, may be made

with the arbitral tribunal or to the extent that the arbitral tribunal has no power to act
or is unable to act effectively, the request may be made with the Court.
Section 29 appear to extend and widen the scope of powers found in Section 28
although it is more a case of an elaboration of the powers set out in Section 28.
Section 29 specifically refers to the granting of preliminary injunctions but includes
also the power to appoint a receiver, powers of detention and preservation and
inspection of property, which is the subject matter of the arbitration. Helpfully,
Section 29 makes clear that a party may seek the courts assistance in enforcing the
interim orders of an arbitral tribunal.[22]
However, as also pointed out by Leslie Chew, though the law is clear that resort may
be had to the courts for assistance in implementing or enforcing an interim measure
granted by the arbitral tribunal, the law is silent whether orders and directions of an
arbitral tribunal may be enforced in the same manner as any order or direction of a
court. This matter, which is still awaiting for judicial interpretation by the Supreme
Court, should have been spelled out clearly in the law.
H. Confirmation of Domestic Arbitral Award
The ADR Law expressly provides that the Philippine Arbitration Law shall
continuously govern domestic arbitration. It must be noted that a domestic arbitral
award is not self-executory. To convert a domestic arbitral award into an enforceable
judgment, the winning party has to file with the courts a petition for confirmation of
the arbitral award within thirty (30) days from receipt of the arbitral award. The court
should, as a matter of course, grant the petition, unless there are grounds to vacate the
The Philippine Arbitration Law likewise provides that domestic arbitral awards may
be vacated only on a few limited grounds. And the ADR Law expressly declares that
any ground other than the grounds specified under the law for vacating a domestic
arbitral award shall be disregarded.[23]
These provisions reinforce the validity and legal existence of the the Philippine
Arbitration Law, as the law applicable to domestic arbitration.

I. Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Award

Perhaps, what makes arbitration is so attractive and is considered the best alternative
in the international setting is the provision on recognition and enforcement of foreign
arbitral award.
Section 42 of the ADR Law provides that the New York Convention shall govern the
recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards covered by the said Convention. In
addition, it provides that the recognition and enforcement of such arbitral awards shall
be filed with regional trial court in accordance with the rules of procedure to be
promulgated by the Supreme Court. Moreover, the applicant is required to establish
that the country in which foreign arbitration award was made is a party to the New
York Convention.[24]
Under this provision, arbitral awards in International Commercial Arbitration are
readily enforced pursuant to the New York Convention of 1958 unlike in other foreign
judgments. Participant countries to the Convention are obliged to enforce arbitral
awards as if they were made domestically, subject to limited grounds on which
enforcement may be refused. These grounds are those enumerated under Article V of
the New York Convention. These grounds must be borne in mind by judges in order
to avoid unlimited interference by the courts, thereby fulfilling its pronouncement that
arbitration is encouraged in this jurisdiction.
Attention must also be given to Section 43, which actually deals with the recognition
and enforcement of non-New York convention awards. Unlike Section 42, this section
gives consideration and attends to the recognition of non-New York Convention
awards, which must be in accordance with the procedural rules to be promulgated by
the Supreme Court. However, the provision refers to international comity and
reciprocity as grounds for the recognition of such awards.
Another provision worth discussing is Section 44, which distinguishes a foreign
arbitral award from a foreign judgment. It is widely known that foreign judgments are
generally not enforceable in other jurisdictions except in cases of reciprocity and
comity. On the other hand, arbitral awards are more readily enforceable. The law

provides that a party applying for the enforcement of the arbitral award only needs to
file with the Regional Trial Court the original or duly authenticated copy of the award
and the arbitration agreement. The law also provides that a foreign arbitral award,
when confirmed by the RTC, shall be enforced in the same manner as final and
executory decisions of courts of law of the Philippines.[25]
Indeed, this provision highlights the rationale why arbitration is considered the
preferred alternative in the international setting.
The enactment of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act of 2004 (Republic Act No.
9285), adopting the provisions of the Model Law, has paved the way to make
Philippines one of the international commercial arbitration in Asia. The law was
indeed adopted not only to address the perennial problems besetting the Philippines
courts system like the clogged court dockets, slow-paced litigation process, and costly
litigation, but also to adjudicate international disputes arising from the increasing
number of international commercial transactions. More importantly, the law was
adopted to pave the way for transacting parties to make their own arrangements in
settling their disputes without seeking the intervention of the courts.
Indeed, the ADR Law has made promises and being a relatively new law, with its
Implementing Rules and Regulation promulgated in the late 2000s, there is more to
expect in its implementation by competent and credible arbitrators and arbitration
institutions and in the interpretation of its provisions by the Supreme Court. Indeed,
its implementation is still in its initial stage.
There is a need to introduce arbitration to the general public as an alternative method
of dispute resolution. Millions of Filipinos may, until now, have little awareness of
arbitration as an alternative method of dispute resolution. And that is the reason why
every time they engage in a dispute, it is almost automatic to them to file a case in
court. Thus, efforts must be made to make it well-known and widely-practiced.

To encourage foreign parties to resort to arbitration in the Philippines, the courts must
provide minimal assistance to the arbitration proceedings. Unbridled intervention of
the courts in arbitration proceedings will consequently prevent parties from resorting
to arbitration and preclude foreign parties from choosing the Philippines as venue for
Finally, as an international commercial arbitration center, Philippines has long way to
go. Efforts must be exerted by the government to improve the image of the
Philippines and to promote it as the seat of international commercial arbitration in
Asia. The government must show that Philippines is highly conducive to international
commercial arbitration by showing to them that Philippines highly values
transparency, neutrality and impartiality, and independence of judgment, and that only
competent, conscientious and credible arbitrators are appointed to handle arbitration
Singapore and Hongkong may be ahead for now, but once the ADR centers in the
Philippines have been fully equipped, who knows Philippines might be the premiere
center for international commercial arbitration not only in Asia but also of the world?

[1] Republic Act No. 9285

[2] Alfredo Tadiar, Unclogging the Court
[3] Eduardo Ceniza, International Commercial Arbitration: Its Relevance in the
Philippines (2005).
[4] Victor P. Lazatin & Patricia Ann T. Prodigalidad, Arbitration in the Philippines
[5] Leslie Chew, The New Philippine Arbitration Law Some Preliminary
Observations. Journal of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Vol. 32, No. 1 (3 rd and
4th Quarters of 2005 and 1st Quarter of 2006).

[6] Victor P. Lazatin & Patricia Ann T. Prodigalidad, Arbitration in the Philippines
[7] Leslie Chew, The New Philippine Arbitration Law Some Preliminary
[8] Explanatory Note by the UNCITRAL secretariat of the 1985 Model Law on
International Commercial Arbitration as amended in 2006.
[9] See Korea Technologies Co., Ltd. vs. Alberto Lerma, G.R. No. 143581, 7 January
[10] Eduardo Ceniza, International Commercial Arbitration: Its Relevance in the
Philippines (2005).
[11] Section 3 (d), Republic Act No. 9285
[12] Section 21, Republic Act No. 9285
[13] Section 25, Republic Act No. 9285
[14] Leslie Chew, The New Philippine Arbitration Law Some Preliminary
[15] Section 22, Republic Act No. 9285
[16] Section 23, Republic Act No. 9285
[17] Section 24, Republic Act No. 9285
[18] Leslie Chew, The New Philippine Arbitration Law Some Preliminary
[19] Section 30, Republic Act No. 9285
[20] Leslie Chew, The New Philippine Arbitration Law Some Preliminary
[21] Section 28, Republic Act No. 9285
[22] Leslie Chew, The New Philippine Arbitration Law Some Preliminary
[23] Section 40-41, Republic Act No. 9285
[24] Section 42, Republic Act No. 9285
[25] Section 44, Republic Act No. 9285
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