Can I be jailed for non-payment of debt (utang) in the Philippines?

Hello guys!

Online loans Philippines is a hot topic. It is really a good news that there are several lending institutions that are expanding their reach by offering a medium for Filipinos to apply for quick cash loans.

However, there are times that we cannot pay on time — so the question is — are we gonna be jailed for not able to pay a certain debt?

This post was fueled by some Facebook posts I read on various groups, recounting they feared that they will be charged with estafa. Most of the times, the collector would talk to a borrower in an angry tone — and telling that he or she will be charged with estafa.

Disclaimer: I am not encouraging anyone not to pay an obligation. When we decided to borrow money, we are already responsible for paying comes the due date. However, I am writing down this post now to educate anyone who faces the fear of being jailed because of estafa due to a non-payment or the failure to pay a certain debt.

So, is it really true?

The short answer is no.

When we borrow money out of need — there is no so-called estafa — and we would NOT be jailed. So, if someone on the phone is trying to scare you, calm down now. It’s not true. It is a simple tactic.

No person shall be imprisoned for debt

No person shall be imprisoned for debt

According to Section 20, Bill of Rights, Article III of the 1987 Constitution of our beloved Republic, The Philippines: No person shall be imprisoned for debt.

What does it mean?

If you are not able to pay a debt worth of 5,000 pesos because of a financial crisis, no collector can threat you of estafa.

So, no more sleepless nights and stress!

Now, you can focus on fixing your financial problem…

Link to the 1987 Constitution

Why not estafa? Ano nga ba talaga ang estafa?

The other term of estafa is swindling.

So, let’s understand estafa in a language we ordinary Filipinos can easily understand.

If someone receives money out of deceit (panloloko) — yan ay estafa. A few examples are:

  • By using a fictitious name — not unless gumamit ka ng hindi totoong pangalan, eh walang dahilan upang kasuhan kayo ng estafa.
  • Prentending to posses property or power — eh, yung pag-fill-up niyo ng form, hindi naman kayo nang pretend to own anything, di po ba?

Okay, so anything about deceit could be considered estafa…

Link to a resource about estafa

More in-depth comparison

Simpleng utang (debt) – can be charged for civil case, pero walang kulong. I think if the amount is significant enough na pwedeng ma-pursue yung case (mahal yan eh — attorneys fee, etc), so if the debt is only 5K, if ikaw yung inutangan, are you sure you still want to file a case? Sa totoo lang.

Swindling or estafa – it is a criminal case at pwedeng makulong ang taong napapatunayang nanloloko. So, if someone is found guilty of receiving money out of deceit, eh, pwedeng makulong.

Let’s talk about the benefit of paying our debt on or before the due date

Eh, wala namang nakukulong, bakit kailangan parin nating magbayad ng utang? It’s biblical (Psalm 37:21). So kung kayang magbayad ng utang — we should do that.

If we are paying our debt in a timely manner, our credit score will improve, right?

So, that’s one thing we should remember.

If we want to avail for a higher amount of loan, we should improve our credit score! Who does not want that?!

A short story…

Ako, hindi ako nagmamalinis. I’ve been into similar situations, kaya nga alam ko ang mga ito eh. Tinakot na din ako at natakot.

But I am thankful that I love to read facts, and it set me free from stress or fear.

As a bonus of reading this post, I will share my “utang” story.

Hindi rin ako nakabayad ng utang minsan, at ako’y ginulo ng nagpapakilalang isang legal firm. Sabi itinaas na daw ang aking kaso sa Makati supreme court (estafa).

Worst, may pulis pa na pinapunta sa bahay… my mother was so scared for me — but I called her right away and I explained everything — so mabuti talaga kung may alam ka.

The next thing I did, I called the so-called lawyer and explain to him about the bill of rights, I also explain to him about estafa and I told him about libel.

From then on — hindi na niya ako ginulo.

The end…

Final disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and this post is written for general purpose only. I have linked the resources above so you can check if my interpretations are correct.

Recommended reading: Recently, I have written a review about applying for an SSS Salary loan online (MySSS), my successful transaction with Tala Philippines and my most recent loan with CashWagon.


Image source: Unsplash (with text modification)

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Prime Aque is the back-end guy of Self-Help. He is a blogger and WordPress front-end designer. Importantly, he is a husband and a father of three wonderful kids. His firstborn are twin girls. He loves writing and sharing.

1 thought on “Can I be jailed for non-payment of debt (utang) in the Philippines?”

  1. Hi I am having a similar situation here for my unpaid loan, Home credit eto, I still have an unpaid balance of less than 30,000. I was Robbed and still paid for it. I didn’t filled for a report because I still have a job that time. But after that I also lost my job and 5 months na Ako walang work. Up until now And now they are threatening to ask help from Our barangay.


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