Enforcement of Foreign Money Judgments (Philippines)

I. PRESENT ATTITUDE TOWARD ENFORCEMENT OF FOREIGN MONEY JUDGMENTS

A. Describe the receptiveness of your government (including courts) toward enforcement of foreign money judgments.

Under the newly-ratified Constitution of The Republic of the Philippines of 1986, the Philippines adopt the generally-accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and adhere to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation and amity with all nations.

Under the Section 50 of Rule 39 of The Philippine Rules of Court, a judgment against a person, such as for a sum of money rendered by a foreign court, is presumptive evidence of a right as between the parties of successors-in-interest by a subsequent title, but when suit for its enforcement is brought in a Philippine court, said judgment may be repelled by evidence of a want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact.

B.  Briefly describe recent illustrative attempts, whether successful or unsuccessful, to enforce a foreign money judgment in your country, particularly with regard to enforcement of any judgments from United States courts.

There are no recent cases.

C. Describe any proposed legislation or other governmental action in your country that could significantly affect the enforcement of foreign money judgments.

None.

 

 II. PROCEDURE TO ENFORCE A FOREIGN MONEY JUDGMENT

A. General Summary of Procedure

1.  Briefly summarize the procedure and expected length of time necessary to enforce a foreign money judgment if a treaty provides for enforcement of judgments from the country of origin.

There are no treaties in force.

2.   Briefly summarize the procedure and expected length of time necessary to enforce a foreign money judgment if no treaty provides for enforcement of judgments from the country of origin.

The suit initiated by means of a complaint shall be filed before the Regional Trial Court in the place where the judgment debtor resides (judgment creditor being a non-resident).   Within 15 days from date of receipt of summons, the judgment debtor must answer the complaint, otherwise he will be declared in default and the judgment creditor will then be permitted to present evidence ex-parte.  

 Ten days after receipt of the answer, the judgment creditor may file a reply or answer to counterclaim and the issues are joined.   If the answer does not tender an issue, a judgment on the pleadings may be obtained or otherwise a summary judgment based on the papers already filed with the court may be had. 

 If no judgment on the pleading or a summary judgment is available under the facts in the record, the case will be set in the pre-trial calendar of the court.

 Said pre-trial involves admission and stipulations of facts, identification of the decision of the foreign court, proof of its finality and its authenticity. If these are uncontested, decision may be had authorizing enforcement and execution: otherwise, after termination of the pre-trial, the case will be set for trial on the merits.  

After reception of evidence the parties rest their case and the same is submitted for decision by the court within 90 days.

Action for enforcement

A foreign money judgment can be enforced by means of a suit for its enforcement which can take anywhere from six months to two years.

B.   Detailed Discussion of Procedure

1.    Indicate the courts in your country that are competent (i.e., have jurisdiction) to grant enforcement of a judgment

 The Regional Trial Court where the judgment debtor resides is competent to grant enforcement.

2. Describe any requirements regarding translation and authentication of the documents evidencing the original judgment.  

Section 20, Rule 132(a) of the Rules of Court considers the acts or records of tribunals of a foreign country as public writings.   Public instruments are evidence, even against third persons, of the face which gave rise to their execution and of the date of the latter.  

A copy of the foreign money judgment may be authenticated by an attestation of the officer having the legal custody of the record and accompanied with a certification that such officer has the custody.   This certification may be made by a secretary or embassy or legation, consul general, consul, vice consul, or consular agent or by any officer in the foreign service of the Philippines stationed in the foreign country where the record is kept, and authenticated by the seal of his office.

Said attestation must state, in substance, that the copy is a correct copy of the original or specific part thereof as the case may be.   In Philippine courts, unless the language of the document is in English or Spanish or in Filipino, the Philippine national language, the same is not admissible in evidence unless accompanied with a translation into English or Spanish, or the national language. Filipino.   The translation shall be made by the official interpreter of the court or a translation agreed upon by the official interpreter of the court or a translation agreed upon by the parties. Specifically, the Philippine Supreme Court has ruled that a document purporting to be a provision of law in a foreign language (Chinese in the case) is not recognized in evidence unless there is a translation in Spanish or English or the Philippine national language, it being in the Chinese language and written with characters which are absolutely unknown to the court or to the judgment debtors.

3.   Indicate whether jurisdiction over the judgment debtor must be obtained by your courts in the enforcement action.

Yes, either by personal service of summons or summons by publication.

4.   If the original judgment is in a foreign currency, describe whether the judgment need be converted into local currency.  

Article 1249 of the Civil Code of the Philippines provides that payment of debts in money shall be made in the currency stipulated and if it is not possible to deliver such money, then in the currency which is legal tender in the Philippines.

 5.   Indicate whether the judgment creditor can receive interest on the original judgment amount regardless of whether the original judgment amount included interest.

No.   A foreign judgment may be enforced but not enlarged by the Philippine court enforcing it.

6.   Indicate whether the successful judgment creditor is entitled to reimbursement of its attorneys frees or court costs incurred in bringing the enforcement proceeding.   

Court costs in the Philippines are minimal.   Attorney’s fees and expenses of litigation may be recovered when determined by the court to be just and equitable as when the judgment debtor does not question the correctness and legality of the judgment creditor’s case or when the judgment debtor based his defense and appeal entirely on pure technicality and engages in dilatory tactics.

More specifically,   attorney’s fees are authorized under the Civil Code as when the judgment creditor’s act or omission has compelled the judgment creditor to litigate with third persons or to incur expenses to protect his interest or where the judgment debtor acts in gross and evident bad faith in refusing to settle the judgment creditor’s plainly valid, just, and demandable claim.

7.   Describe the conditions under which the losing party may appeal your court’s decision whether or not to enforce a judgment. 

Within 30 days of receipt of the copy of the decision of the Regional Trial Court, the aggrieved or losing part may appeal to the Court of Appeals on mixed questions of face and of law or directly to the Supreme Court on pure questions of law.  

The records are then transmitted to the appellate court where payment of docketing fees is required.    Upon notice by the Court of Appeals, appellant’s brief must be filed; it is in the appellee’s discretion whether or not to file a brief in response.

8.   Describe any other procedures which could seriously affect the enforcement action.

None.

III.   REQUIREMENTS FOR ENFORCEMENT OF A FOREIGN MONEY JUDGEMENT

A.   General Summary of Requirements

1.   Assuming the proper procedure is followed as set out in Section II, briefly summarize the requirements which must be met to enforce a foreign money judgment if a treaty provides for enforcement of judgments from the country of origin.

There are no treaties.

2.   Assuming the proper procedure is followed as set our in Section II, briefly summarize the requirements which must be met to enforce a foreign money judgment if no treaty provides for enforcement of judgments from the country or origin.  

If suit for enforcement of a foreign money judgment is brought in a Philippine court, the judgment will not be enforced if there was want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion.

(Excerpted from the book, “Enforcement of Foreign Money Judgments”;  Philippine portion authored by Atty. Bernardito A. Florido,Sr.)

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