The Barangay Justice System: The Effectiveness of the Lupong Tagapamayapa in Selected Barangays of Bacolod City
Garceniego, Louem G.
Gerolin, Louieze Gerald C.
Mayo, Mark Steven S.
Zafra, Macario III
28 December 2015
First and foremost, the researchers would like to offer the success of this study to the almighty God, who sustained the researchers with His grace, wisdom, strength and divine providence. For with His help, the researchers were able to endure all the challenges in this study. Second, the researchers would like to thank the University of St. La Salle – College of Law Library, Graduate School Library, and Undergraduate Library for providing the necessary resources and research materials that were helpful in the study. Third, the researchers would like to express their appreciation to the interviewed individuals. Without the help of these persons, the study would not be possible. Fourth, the researchers would like to thank Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, professor in Legal Research, for providing the proper research
researching process. Lastly, the researchers would like to thank everyone who gave their support and encouragement that helped the researchers focus and attaining their goal of a successful study.
ABSTRACT The establishment and operation of the Barangay Justice System is mandated by Republic Act No. 7160, otherwise known as the the Local
Pambarangay Law under the Local Government Code is aimed to help decongest the already congested judicial courts all over the country. Through the Lupong Tagapamayapa, the Barangay Justice System aspires for amicable settlement of disputes between barangay and family members. The researchers selected four (4) individuals for the interview process. These individuals were selected due to their experience and knowledge with the Lupong Tagapamayapa that are helpful for the completion of the study. These individuals gave competent and trustworthy informations which are vital in the functions of the lupon, and the reason why these individuals asked that their identities not to be disclosed in the research To address the effectiveness of the Katarungang Pambarangay system, the researchers sought more effective ways to inform both citizens and local leaders of the potential of the KP authority under Philippine law, especially in terms of efficient and effective ways of dealing with the disputes and cases presented to them. Through the interviews and data gathered for the purpose of this study, the researchers were able to conclude matters essential 4
and necessary for the function of the Lupong Tagapamayapa, and through the findings, the researchers were able to set out recommendations for persons at stake with the Barangay Justice System, especially to the lupon member. This recommendations are aimed to aid and guide them in their functions in the barangay system.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Acknowledgement iI Abstract iiI Introduction 4 Objectives 6 Research Methodology 8 Research Findings 19 Summary 24 Conclusions 25 Recommendations 26 Bibliography 27 Appendix
INTRODUCTION The Philippines, known as an archipelagic state in Southeast Asia with 7,107 islands and islets, has various political subdivisions. The
governmental unit of the Philippine Republic. Considered as the closest unit to the people, the barangay is where the government meet the citizens face to face. Each barangay is composed of one (1) Punong Barangay, and seven (7) Barangay Kagawads. The barangay, being the closest political unit to the people, ensures peace and justice through the Katarungang Pambarangay or the Barangay Justice System. The Katarungang Pambarangay or Barangay Justice System is a
administered by the basic political unit of the country, the barangay. As a community-based mechanism for dispute resolution, it covers disputes between members of the same community (generally, 7
same city or municipality) and involves the Punong Barangay and other members of the community (the Lupon members) as intermediaries
arbitrators). (Manuel and Vigo, 2004) In the Philippines, amicable settlement of disputes dates back to the Pre-Spanish era. Then, all disputes were brought before the elders of the barangay for mediation, conciliation, or arbitration. In those days, the system dispensed justice efficiently and without delay. (Tan & Pulido, 2006) As civilization developed in the Philippines, it came with the adoption and establishment of a formal system of government, divided it into three (3) co-equal branches: the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judiciary. The Judiciary, as granted by the Constitution, interpretation
technicalities, cannot be decided immediately. As a result, the dockets in the courts are congested with a vast number of pending cases, waiting in agony for justice to come. For that reason, Congress gave birth to the Katarungang Pambarangay or Barangay Justice System to help decongest the courts and speed up justice. The law on the Katarungang Pambarangay was originally governed by P.D. No. 1508. However, the Local Government Code of 1991, specifically Chapter 7, Title I, Book III thereof, revised the law on the Katarungang Pambarangay. As a consequence of this revision, P.D. No. 1508 was expressly repealed pursuant to Section 534(b) of the [same] Code. (Uy v. Contreras, G.R. No. 111416, 26 September 1994)
The Revised Katarungang Pambarangay Law under R.A. 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991, and which repealed P.D. 1508, introduced substantial changes not only in the authority granted to the Lupong Tagapamayapa but also in the procedure to be observed in the settlement of disputes within the authority of the Lupon. (Administrative Circular 14-03) By the passage of R.A. 7160 (The Local Government Code of 1991), the Katarungang Pambarangay was given a new mandate and has extended its reach of cases it covers. The Katarungang Pambarangay Law has the purpose to give each barangay the mandate to enforce peace and order, and provide support for an effective implementation and enforcement of justice within their area. In areas where courts are inaccessible due to their locations or the prohibitive costs of litigation, the Barangay Justice System has become a venue for the people to avail of a peaceful resolution of their disputes. Lawyers are not allowed or are barred from appearing in the barangay justice system, unless they are personally involve, because the dispute must be peacefully settled by the disputants among themselves. It is believed that without the intervention of a counsel, a dispute has a higher chance of achieving an amicable settlement. According to the records of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), out of 461,489 total number of disputes across all barangays nationwide in 2014, 76% or 350,554 of these were settled by the lupons and only 18,199 of these disputes 9
reached the courts. According to the Supreme Court the estimated government cost of adjudication per case is P9,500.00, this led to an estimated government savings of P3-billion. The Katarungang Pambarangay has two major goals: (1) to promote the speedy administration of and enhance the quality of justice, by relieving the courts of case congestion; and (2) to perpetuate and continue the time-honored tradition of amicably settling disputes without judicial recourse, thus following the constitutional mandate of preserving the Filipino culture, and to strengthen the family as a basic social institution. (Tan & Pulido, 2006) Even if the parties in disputes are residents of the same barangay, they do not necessarily have to go through the Katarungang Pambarangay. Section 408 of the Local Government Code enumerates the exceptions where the parties can go straight to court or to the fiscal’s office. The code provides: “Sec. 408. Subject Matter for Amicable Settlement; Exception Thereto. (a) Where one party is the government, or any subdivision or instrumentality thereof; (b) Where
employee, and the dispute relates to the performance of his official functions; (c) Offenses
exceeding one (1) year or a fine exceeding Five thousand pesos (P5,000.00);
(d) Offenses where there is no private offended party; (e) Where the dispute involves real properties located in different cities or municipalities unless the parties thereto agree to submit their differences to amicable settlement by an appropriate lupon; (f)
Disputes involving parties who actually reside in
municipalities, except where such barangay units adjoin each other and the parties thereto agree to submit their differences to amicable settlement by an appropriate lupon; (g) Such other classes of disputes which the President may determine in the interest of Justice or upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Justice.“ A case filed in court without compliance with prior Barangay conciliation…may be dismissed upon motion of defendant/s, not for lack of jurisdiction of the court but for failure to state a cause of action or prematurity. (Par. IV, Administrative Circular No. 14-93) All cases covered by the Katarungang Pambarangay Law must first be brought to the barangay concerned to undergo mediation proceedings – if mediation fails, the parties still have to go through a conciliation proceedings – before the case can be elevated to the courts. Conciliation can only be done if mediation fails.
Mediation and conciliation are basically the same, however, mediation is done by the Punong Barangay, while conciliation, on the other hand, is done by the Pangkat Tagapagsundo (pangkat) headed by a chairperson, similar to mediation. Both mediation and conciliation are merely intervening between two or more contending parties in order to prevent or peacefully end a dispute. A mediator or conciliator does not resolve a dispute, they are only there to help the conflicting parties resolve their case by carefully listening to them and assist them in finding a solution that would justify the needs of the parties involved. In this work, the researchers have explored the dynamics surrounding
researchers have inquired from the knowledge and perception of persons
Pambarangay program, or those who have active participation with it. We listen to their experiences, and through this work, we will show how effective the country’s Barangay Justice System, and we will show if it is living up to its mandate of achieving amicable settlement of disputes in barangays all-over the nation.
OBJECTIVES The purpose of this study is to determine and assess the effectiveness of the Katarungang Pambarangay (Barangay Justice), through the Lupong Tagapamayapa, in settling disputes in the barangay level, as perceived by respondents who have actual knowledge or have been part of the process. The following are the questions this study ought to answer: 12
1. Is the Lupong Tagapamayapa effective in amicable dispute settlement? 2. Is the Lupong Tagapamayapa serving its purpose of having a peaceful resolution of the disputes without formal adjudication? 3. What are the problems encountered during the settlement process?
Figure 1 - Barangay Organizational Chart
DEFINITION OF TERMS (a) Adjudication – is the power of courts or quasi-judicial agencies to decide cases filed before them and falling within their jurisdiction;
(b) Amicable Settlement – is an agreement reached during mediation and conciliation proceedings; (c) Arbitration – is a process wherein the third party from outside the judicial system is chosen by parties to hear and decide their dispute; (d) Complaint
constituting the plaintiff’s cause and causes of action; (e) Conciliation – is a process wherein the Pangkat forgoes the power to decide or recommend but assist the parties to isolate issues and options to reach a settlement by consensus that jointly satisfies their needs; (f)
Jurisdiction – is an authority to hear and decide a case and given by law and cannot be agreed by the parties;
administered at the barangay level for the purpose of amicable settling disputes through mediation, conciliation or arbitration among the family or barangay without resorting to the courts; (h) Lupong Tagapamayapa (Lupon) – is a body organized in every barangay composed of Punong Barangay as the chairperson and not less than ten (10) and more than twenty (20) from which the members of every Pangkat shall be chosen; (i)
Mediation – is a process wherein the Lupon chairperson or Barangay Chairperson assists the disputing parties to reach a settlement by consensus that jointly satisfies their needs;
Pangkat Tagapagkasundo (Pangkat) – is a conciliation panel constituted from the Lupon membership for every dispute 14
brought before the Lupon consisting of three (3) members after the Punong Barangay has failed in his mediation efforts; (k) Persons – means every natural or juridical being, susceptible of rights and obligations or of being the subject of legal relations; (l)
Residents – refer to natural persons who have their habitual residence in the province, city, or municipality where they exercise their civil rights and fulfill their civil obligations; and
(m) Venue – is the place where the case is to be heard and decided. This is not fixed by law except in criminal cases, and can be agreed upon by the parties.
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY In this study, the researchers used the descriptive method of research. This type of research methodology is fact-finding; it aims to explore the circumstances affecting the subject matter of the study. The methods used in descriptive data gathering are useful when the object of the study is to see a general and specific picture of the topic. Likewise, the researchers employ the qualitative method of research
Pambarangay. The qualitative method involves describing in details specific situation using research tools such as interviews, focused group discussions, surveys, and observations. The questions used in the interviews and focused group discussions
normative method to describe the degrees of perceptions of the respondents on the contributive as well as the obstructive factors on settlement of disputes through the Katarungang Pambarangay law and the differences of perception among the respondents on the operational and administrative problems or constraints encountered in the implementation of the Katarungang Pambarangay. The researchers sought key informants who are integrated and well-versed with the processes and procedures of the lupon, and focused group discussions that involve people who have been subjected to the mediation and conciliation procedures of the lupon.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY The study on the effectiveness of the Lupong Tagapamayapa will systematically provide heightened awareness and information, with regard to the Lupong Tagapamayapa, to the following sectors of our society and help the Lupon improve more in terms of the service it brings for amicable settlements of disputes in barangays. The sectors that will benefit from the study are the following:
a) The Government of the City of Bacolod By the use of this study, the City Government will have additional resources for a thorough study of the law on the Katarungang Pambarangay and assess the current situation of the Lupong Tagapamayapa in all barangays in the city. This study may help reduce the loopholes and undesirable outcomes after mediation and conciliation 16
proceedings of the lupon, and help formulate action plans to reduce and avoid these undesirable scenarios in the future.
b) Citizens of the City of Bacolod The study will help raise awareness to the citizens that a Barangay Justice System exists. The study will help educate the citizens about the lupon’s purpose and functions, and let them know that there exist a venue outside
settlement of disputes without the need of a counsel.
c) Members of the Lupong Tagapamayapa The
Tagapamayapa. The study will help detect potential flaws and weaknesses in the system, as well as the fair points of the dispute settlement process being conducted.
d) Lawyers and Legal Experts Legal
knowledge and wisdom with regard to the processes of the Lupon. Also, it may help them in improving of the lupon’s mediation and conciliation proceedings for the benefit of everyone.
SCOPE AND LIMITATION 17
The scope of this study is composed of the knowledge, experiences, and perceptions of the respondents with regard to the Katarungang Pambarangay (Barangay Justice System), through the Lupong Tagapamayapa, in the City of Bacolod, and its selected barangays. Point-persons who were asked were key officials of the selected barangays of Bacolod city, especially the members of the lupon, and the individuals who have already experienced being subjected and mediated to in a lupon mediation session. Questions asked in the interviews and group discussions focus on the effectiveness of the lupon’s processes, especially the ability of the lupon to amicably settle a dispute and prevent any future conflicts between the erring party and the party offended. The study will be limited only through selected barangays of Bacolod city. Careful and tedious filtering and assessing of the barangays were done by conducting ocular visits, and consulting with various resource persons that helped us advance with the interviews and group discussions Several Barangays were chosen due to the active responses of their Lupon Council. The barangays chosen are: Barangay V, Barangay VI, and Villamonte. These barangays were assessed and determined through ocular visits, and based on the observations during their lupon sessions, the researchers decided to conduct the interviews and surveys in these particular barangays due to their lupon’s active initiation and response to disputes.
ETHICAL CONSIDERATION 18
In this study, the researchers put into consideration the confidentiality of the interviewed individuals, particularly the people who have been involved in disputes and have experienced to be in a mediation or conciliation proceedings. The researchers understand the sensitivity of some of the cases and disputes that are handled by the lupon, and to ensure their safety, the researchers ought not to disclose the participant’s names in the course of this study, subject to the participants’ discretion of the matter. Any individual’s privacy will be guaranteed while subjected to this research. Consequently, no identifying information about the individual should be revealed in written or other forms of communication. Furthermore, any person, group or organization participating in a research study has a reasonable expectation that its identity will not be revealed. Finally, there must be no fabrication or falsification of data. If we discover that the data published are erroneous, it is our responsibility to correct the error through retraction, an addendum, or other appropriate means. In addition, we do not present the work of others as our own, or do not fail to give appropriate credit for the work of others through citations. REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE The Katarungang Pambarangay Law As compared to Presidential Decree No. 1508, or the earlier version
Katarungang Pambarangay Law under the Local Government Code of 1991 has three distinct features, to wit: 19
1. The lupon’s authority in criminal offenses were amplified, from those punishable by imprisonment not more than thirty (30) days or a fine not higher than P 200.00 in P.D. 1508, to those offenses punishable by imprisonment not exceeding one (1) year or a fine not exceeding P 5,000.
2. As to the venue, the code provides that disputes arising at the workplace where the contending parties are employed or at the institution where such parties are registered for study, shall be brought to the respective barangay where the aforementioned institutions or workplace is situated.
3. The suspension of the prescriptive periods during the pendency of the mediation, or arbitration process have also been provided in the Revised Katarungang Pambarangay Law. suffers
Paragraph C of Section 410 of the law, however, from
prescriptive periods “shall resume upon receipt by the complainant
repudiation or of the certification to file action issued by the lupon or the pangkat secretary.” What is referred to as receipt by the complainant of the complaint is unclear; obviously, it could have been a drafting oversight. (Uy v. Contreras, G.R. No. 111416, 26 September 1994)
The Barangay Justice System of the past
Cases between the datus or natives of two barangays were settled by arbitration with a group of datus and elders from other barangays acting as a board of arbiters. In civil cases, such as controversy about property or amount of money, a friendly settlement was first resorted to. If it failed, each party took an oath that he would abide by the decision of the judge. In criminal cases, if a chief was killed, his kinsmen waged war against the murderer and his relatives, until they were stopped by the mediator who fixed the amount of gold to be paid by the murderer. (Zaide, 1939) In the Spanish period, the pueblo was the local unit or local government with the gobernadorcillo or capitan as its chief executive. The Judiciary consisted of the Territorial Supreme Court in Manila, the two (2) Superior Criminal Courts in Cebu and Vigan, the Courts of First Instance in the Provinces, the Justice of the Peace Courts in the Municipalities and a few Special Courts. During this period, the Supreme Court had· a criminal and civil chambers. It had one (1) Chief Justice, two (2) Presidents of Chambers, eight (8) Associate Justices, Attorney-Generals and other officers. The Superior Criminal Courts had a Chief Justice, two (2) Associate Justices, one (1) Attorney-General, one (1) Assistant Attorney and a Secretary. (Gullus 1947)
Similar Systems in other Nations
The system of amicable settlement is prevalent in Asian nations. In the People's Republic of China, a body called "People's Conciliation Committee" is charged with the duty of settling disputes and minor criminal cases through conciliation. Its counterpart in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic is the "Comrade's Court," which sanctions certain forms of antisocial behavior of minor importance, not meriting the attention of regular courts. In Japan, informal means
reconcilement and conciliation is being resorted to, a carryover from the Tokugawa Legal System which prominently featured conciliation among members of a "kumi" (town or village) through the intervention of the respective family heads. (Leueng, 1976)
Katarungang Pambarangay: The Purpose The primary purpose of P.D. 1508, (now, Chapter 7, Title One, Book III, Local Government Code) is to provide the conciliation mechanism as an alternative to litigation in dispute settlement, to members of the responding barangay who are actually residing therein. (Bejer v. Court of Appeals, 169 SCRA 566, 572, 27 January, 1989) One of the purposes of the Katarungang Pambarangay Law is to relieve trial courts of cases among neighbors that hopefully can be settled through the mediation of their peers in peaceful and friendly confrontations. (Ramos v. Court of Appeals, 174 SCRA 690, 695, 30 June 1989) The essence of the Katarungang Pambarangay Law is the amicable settlement of disputes wherein the disputing parties are 22
encourage to make mutual concessions to obtain a peaceful resolution of the disputes without formal adjudication thereof. The important consideration in amicable settlement is the extent to claims against each other within the limits imposed by law, moral, good customs, public order and public policy. (DOJ Opinion No. 185, s. 1981) Republic Act 7160, otherwise known as the 1991 Local Government Code, gives barangays the mandate to enforce peace and order and provide support for the effective enforcement of human rights and justice. Decentralization has facilitated the recognition of the Katarungang Pambarangay or Barangay Justice System as an alternative venue for the resolution of disputes. The challenge facing local governments now is to maximize and harness the katarungang pambarangay as one of the most valuable mechanisms available in administering justice, advancing human rights protection and resolving and/or mediating conflict at the barangay level through non-adversarial means. (Manuel and Vigo, 2004) The barangay settlement procedure are intended as a screening process whereby the barangay captain and the pangkat ng tagapagsundo, the conciliation panel constituted from the lupon membership, determine which cases are truly irreconcilable and should therefore be resolved judicially. (DOJ Opinion No. 111, s. 1982)
Katarungang Pambarangay: The Functions
Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991 expanded the scope and powers of the Katarungang Pambarangay or the Barangay Justice System designed not merely to decongest the courts of cases but to address inequalities in access to justice, particularly
barangays, being the basic political unit in the country, is in the most strategic position to facilitate resolution or mediation of community and family disputes, alongside its mandate to deliver basic services. (Manuel and Vigo, 2004) The Barangay Justice System provides an alternative mode for dispute resolution to the costly and lengthy process of settling disputes in regular courts. Instead of going through the very technical procedure of filing formal pleadings and presenting evidence in courts, the parties of a dispute are given the opportunity to try to talk to each other and resolve their disputes amicably. The technical processes and rules that are usually applied in court proceedings are not applied. Filing a case in court, or defending oneself against such a case, would necessarily entail the services of lawyers. In the Barangay Justice System, however, the parties do not need to secure the services of lawyers. In fact, the law prohibits the participation of lawyers in the conciliation proceedings. While cases that are tried in courts generally take years to be resolved, cases that go through the Barangay Justice System would generally take only a few weeks. (Manuel and Vigo, 2004) All proceedings for settlement are public and informal, except at the instance of the Barangay Captain or the Pangkat or any of the parties to exclude the public in the interest of privacy, decency, or public morals. The results of the mediation proceedings, and the 24
whole of the conciliation proceedings shall be duly recorded, such records being transmitted to the proper city or municipal court for safekeeping. (Min. of Justice Op. No. 147, s. 1979.) Katarungang Pambarangay: The Importance True to the form envisioned by its main exponent, the Katarungang Pambarangay seeks to achieve a two-fold goal: (l) to promote the speedy administration and enhance the quality of justice by relieving the courts of docket congestion caused by indiscriminate filing of cases; and (2) to perpetuate and officially recognize the time-honored tradition of amicably settling disputes among family and barangay members at the barangay level, without judicial recourse, thus, implementing the constitutional mandate to preserve and develop Filipino culture, and to strengthen the family as a basic social institution. (Tan & Pulido, 2006) There can be no question that when the law conferred upon the Lupon "the authority to bring together the parties actually residing in the same city or municipality for amicable settlement of all disputes, ... ," its obvious intendment was to grant to the Lupon as broad and comprehensive an authority as possible as would bring about the optimum realization of the aforesaid objectives. These objectives would only be half-met and easily thwarted if the Lupon's authority is exercised only in cases falling within the exclusive jurisdiction of inferior courts. (Morata v. Go, G.R. No. L-62339, 27 October 1983) [A] personal confrontation between the parties without the intervention
spontaneity and a favorable disposition to amicable settlement on the part of the disputants. In other words, the said procedure is 25
deemed conducive to the successful resolution of the dispute at the barangay level. (Ledesma v. C.A., G.R. No. 96914, 27 October 1992) Mediation and conciliation necessarily involve a "laying of cards" by the parties. In order to arrive at an amicable settlement, the parties must feel free to talk about their problems, mundane as they are, even those which do not have a direct bearing on the dispute sought to be resolved. This is a natural phenomenon in conciliation, more so in Philippine setting, because it is personoriented. It is deeply concerned in knowing the personalities of the disputants, on knowing what values are held by the parties, so that a trade-off of values may be effected to restore disrupted harmonious relationship or to create such harmony where there is none. This nature of the conciliation process, therefore, extracts all statements from the parties as may be necessary and sufficient to arrive at a settlement. (Tan & Pulido, 2006)
Lupong Tagapamayapa as a Requirement We have repeatedly ruled that the proceedings before the lupon are a precondition to the filing of any action or proceeding in court or other government office. Such an initiatory pleading, if filed without compliance with the precondition, may be dismissed on motion of any interested party on the ground that it fails to state a cause of action. (Wingrats v. Mejia, A.M. No. MTJ-94-1012, 20 March 1995) The petitioner’s complaint for unlawful detainer and the collection
before the Lupon for mandatory conciliation, to afford the parties an 26
opportunity to settle the case amicably. However, the petitioner filed her complaint...directly with the MTC. Clearly then, her complaint was premature. (Berba v. Pablo, G.R. No. 160032, 11 November 2005) That parties should first comply with the provisions of the Katarungang Pambarangay Law before the Court can acquire jurisdiction over the complaint. [The] allegation of non-compliance with the mandatory requirement of Lupon Conciliation before the filing of the complaint, in a way divests the Court of its jurisdiction over the case. (Ercide v. Hernandez, A.M. No. MTJ-00-1265, 06 April 2000) What is compulsory under the Katarungang Pambarangay Law is that there be a confrontation between the parties before the Lupon Chairman or the Pangkat and that a certification be issued that no conciliation or settlement has been reached, as attested to by the Lupon or Pangkat Chairman, before a case falling within the authority of the Lupon may be instituted in court or any other government office for adjudication. (Pange-et v. Manacnes, G.R. No. 167261, 02 March 2007)
Changes in the Katarungang Pambarangay Law The Supreme Court recognized the need to implement Rule 18 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, and test the conclusion that mediation/conciliation is a speedy, inexpensive and simplified mode of dispute resolution by actual experiment in selected pilot areas.
The rules on mediation proceedings, which
were to apply to the following cases, were submitted by PHILJA to the Supreme Court for approval: 1. Cases involving interpersonal relations and neighborhood disputes; 2. Collection cases based on creditor and debtor relationship; 3. Claims for damages; 4. Consumer disputes; 5. Disputes arising out of landlord-tenant relationship; 6. Minor criminal disputes such as: i.
Violation of BP 22, estafa, threats, coercion, or malicious
collection or recovery of damages; ii.
Private crimes committed without violence; and iii. Vehicular accidents.
7. Settlement of estates. On November 16, 1999, the Court issued amended guidelines for the implementation of the mediation/conciliation proceedings. Under the approved guidelines, the following are the cases referred for mediation: 1. Civil cases involving members of the same family within the sixth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity, except those which by law cannot be subject to compromise, and civil disputes between residents of the same municipality or city cognizable by the Lupon Tagapamayapa in accordance with
Section 408 of the Local Government Code of 1991 (Republic Act 7160); 2. Collection cases based on creditor and debtor relationship; 3. Claims for civil damages; 4. Disputes arising out of lessor-lessee tenant relationship.
It can thus be seen that the advantages outweighing the disadvantages, the Katarungang Pambarangay, as an informal forum for the settlement of disputes, is a desirable development in the administration of justice, since it not only secures the decongestion of the courts but makes use of a legal system which is indigenously and traditionally Filipino.
RESEARCH FINDINGS The Current Situation of Lupong Tagapamayapa System Some existing challenges confronting the Barangay Justice System may be worth it for the purpose of policy reform. There is a 29
need for community members to familiarize themselves with the operations of the Barangay Justice System. More public campaign on the processes of the system may be worth pursuing. In some of the regional consultations on the subject, many barangay officials noted some inherent weaknesses of the Lupon and the Pangkat. For instance, an observation has been made that it may be essential to require the Lupon and Pangkat members to undergo a continuing education program to make them aware of their roles, duties, and responsibilities, among others.
It is also important to
emphasize the acceptability of these members to the community, particularly in regard to their impartiality and integrity. (Martinez, 2002) In the interviews and observations made by the researchers, the common problems that halt the effectiveness of the lupon were noted:
1. Lack of information, understanding, and appreciation by potential mediators of the importance of the lupon The public does not understand the concept and advantages of mediation.
Neither are they aware of the availability of
mediators. Thus, the need for the holding of forums such as this, the need for advocates, for publication and media support, and for testimonials of successful mediations. In a question asked to an anonymous barangay official of Barangay Alangilan, the official stressed out the importance of the lupon, and we quote:
“Para sa akon huo. Kabalo ka ang tawo subong may tendency nga kadasig mag init ang ulo ukon gapadala sa emosyon bala kag kadasig mangakig. Pero kung panilagan mo na sila, matingala ka nga ang kalabanan sa ila dasig man maumpawan kag ma tahaw man lang dayun ang ila kaakig kag gulpi lang mayuhay na man sila dayon. Amo na nga mahambal ko gid nga dako ang nabulig sang Lupon sa pagpaintsindi sa mga tawo nga involve sa gamo nga mas maayo gid ya kung tawhay ang tanan. Kag sa realidad, kung ipasaka gid man bi ang kaso kay tungod nd gid magpa areglo ang duwa ka kampo, ano naman ya ang igasto nila para magfollow up sang kaso nila? Isa gid actually ka factor ang financial nga aspeto sa proseso sang pagpasako sang kaso kag palab-uton pa sa korte ang problema kung pwede man lang ma istoryahan.” (Refer to Key Informant #3, line 34-46) “For me, yes. People nowadays have the tendency to be easily engaged in troubles and heated arguments which can lead to anger and violence. But if you try to look at it, you will wonder why most of them can just easily be calmed and their anger will just subside. That is why I could really claim that the Lupon has been a big help to make our people understand the importance of having a peaceful community. And to be realistic about it, if the case will proceed to prosecution because settlement can hardly be obtained, where will they get the money to shoulder the expenses of running the case? Money is actually a big factor why most people choose to settle the problem in the barangay level rather than bring it up on courts.”
The geographical convenience of the system, the simplicity and inexpensiveness of proceedings, and the "personal touch" involved, all contribute to the effectiveness and feasibility of the Katarungang Pambarangay, and make available to a greater majority of the people an informal mode of dispute resolution. However,
disadvantages. In one interview, a resident of Bacolod City expressed her distaste with the Lupon, and we quote: “Mayo pa gani wala na lang Lupon para at least diretso na sa pulis e. Kay kung mag labay pa sa barangay mas ga delay pa gid gani kag gadugay ang proseso kay kis-a may mga reschedule pana kay wala si Kap ukon wala si Kagawad ukon sin-o da. Kag para sa akon, for example bi dako nga gamo ang magluntad, ano man bi ang mahimo sang mga opisyal sa barangay? Ang iban sa ila na tahap mana kis-a daan mag hilabot sa ginamo sang mga taw okay basi sila pa initan kag dasun nga eleksyon dumtan sila kag indi sila pag botohon.” (Refer to Key Informant #4, line 26-33) “For me it is better not to have the Lupon so that the disputes will be immediately brought to the proper authority or the police. If all disputes will have to go through the Lupon it will cause more delay of the process especially when the barangay will reschedule the hearings for petty and invalid reasons such as the absence of the Punong Barangay or one of the Kagawads or whoever. And further, let say for example the conflict is too big and too complicated to handle, what can the barangay do about it? Some of the officials are even 32
cynical about it because by intervening along the dispute, they will just engage themselves in the conflict and it might affect their political career and plans by losing votes because of “hate votes”.
2. Non Appearance of Parties Many
proceedings because of lack of notice, because their lawyers did not explain to them the importance of mediation, because they thought mediation was unnecessary as their cases were already in court. An interview from another official in Barangay Alangilan also stressed
cooperation and appearances of the parties involved in the dispute, and we quote: “Ang budlay gid kis-a kung ang mga tawo nga involve sa gamo wala ga cooperate sa Lupon kag naga pawala lang sila sa mga summons nga gina padala sa ila sang barangay. May mga tawo gid ya nga ka tig-a hambalan kag kung kis-a daw mas isog pa sila kung ipatawag sila.” (Refer to Key Informant #3, line 26-30) “The problem sometimes are the parties involved in a conflict who do not cooperate with the Lupon and they tend to disregard and reject the summons sent by the barangay. There are also those who are stubborn and refused to accept advices and sometimes they act more aggressively which often intimidate the Lupon.”
Some of them do not know the opportunity they missed when they expeditiously settle their disputes within the exhausting court process. It will actually take years to prod litigants to learn and cooperate, unless the courts immediately impose sanctions for the deliberate refusal of the parties to attend court-referred mediation. But since this kind of mediation is part of pre-trial, the courts can dismiss the complaint if the plaintiff absents himself, or declare as if in default if he does not attend. Such sanctions will spread like wild-fire, and lawyers will ensure attendance of the clients in mediation proceedings. 3. Strong Positions and Demands It is also an experience that certain parties take very strong positions during mediation and frustrate quick settlement.
cannot be avoided, especially if the parties are still in a very emotional state. In one of the interviews conducted, an anonymous member of the lupon shared her experience while handling a particular case: “Sometimes, settlements become personal. During a settlement, perhaps out of rage, one of the respondents spoke about her personal issues concerning the Brgy. Captain, who is the officer settling the dispute. Instead of resolving the issue at hand, the Brgy. Captain and the respondent had an exchange of hurtful words.” (Refer to Key Informant #1, line 24-28) In another interview, it was noted that the officials in the lupon seems inattentive and unresponsive in giving proper recourse to the case filed by a resident: 34
“Ay wala gid! Wala man to gani pulos ang reklamo ko sa barangay kay daw ginpawalaan man lang nila. Kaagi nga gin patawag kami nga duwa pero gin istorya kami nila nga storyahan lang namon kuno ky ma kay-o pa man ang problema kay normal man lang kuno ang away sa mag-asawa. Kagamay man lang kuno sang problema namon.” (Refer to Key Informant #4, line 14-19) “Unfortunately, no! It was a useless complaint because it was not really given much attention by the barangay officials. There was a time when our attention was called by the Lupon through summon and they told us to settle the issue between us because it was not something really serious and it was just a normal quarrel between couples.” A trained mediator can determine the respective interests of the disputants to veer discussions away from polarized positions. He or she can convince the parties of the adverse consequences of failure to settle, i.e., reversion to tedious and time-consuming litigation.
4. Undeniable Importance in a Barangay There is a great necessity for a member of the Lupong Tagapamayapa to be present and be efficient in mediation proceedings. As quoted again from an official of Barangay Alangilan: “Sa nahambal ko na gani kagina, para sa akon ya dako ang nabulig sang Lupon diri sa amon barangay. Kung iconsider 35
mo pa gid nga layo d daan amon lugar amo na nga ang barangay lang gd ya ang pinaka dasig kag lapit nga mka bulig sa ila problema.” (Refer to Key Informant #3, line 49-52) “As I already mentioned, the Lupon is very helpful for us. You also have to consider the location of our place as rural barangay.
intervention of our office of barangay council to help them settle their disputes.” It is stressed in this statement that the barangays, especially the in the rural parts of Bacolod, that the citizens there depend on the barangay for the settlement of their disputes; and also, due to the location of their barangay, which is situated in the rural parts of Bacolod, that the citizens require the services of their resi
SUMMARY OF THE FINDINGS The following are the findings of the researchers based on the data gathered: 1. Based on the statements of the respondents, the effectivity of the Lupon depends on the performance of the lupon members or the barangay council. In some barangays, the lupon is performing very well, while others are not paying attention to it or have no interest with it.
2. Same with lupon members and barangay officials, there are some barangays in Bacolod City where residents do not cooperate with
the lupon whenever they are summoned and act as if they do not care of the order from the barangay.
3. Most of the disputes brought to the lupon are between family members, especially between the husband and the wife.
4. Most of the respondents said that the Lupong Tagapamayapa is an effective way of amicable settlement of disputes. Also, it is very helpful in areas where the courts or police stations are too far.
5. Many residents are aware of the existence of the Lupong Tagapamayapa, especially in areas where disputes in the barangay are part of their everyday lives.
CONCLUSIONS 1. After analyzing all the data gathered, it was established that disputes between husband and wife is the most common dispute brought to the Lupong Tagapamayapa.
2. The awareness of residents with regard to the existence of the Lupong Tagapamayapa is high in areas where disputes are already prevalent, or in areas where the courts or police stations
are too far and have the lupon as an alternative venue for settlement.
3. In areas close to police stations or courts, or areas where disputes are not common, the awareness of the existence of the Lupong Tagapamayapa is very unlikely.
4. The Lupong Tagapamayapa is effective only if the persons in authority of the lupon perform their duties properly. If these persons lack concern of the disputes being brought to the lupon, the cases are more likely to fail.
5. Lack of cooperation from the part of the respondent is already common challenge to lupon officials. This is sometimes the reason for failure to attain a settlement of the issues being brought to the Lupong Tagapamayapa.
RECOMMENDATIONS Based on the results of the study, the researchers were able to formulate
implementation of the Barangay Justice System in the country. 38
1. DILG. The Department of Interior and Local Government, which is the national agency tasked with providing technical assistance to LGUs could take a more active involvement in strengthening the KP and should be in the frontline in training barangay officials and the LT on the KP. Prosecutors and other qualified resource persons from the DOJ may be tapped as resource persons.
2. Increased awareness with regard to the lupon. Furtherance of awareness will help increase the mediation proceedings, allowing the citizens of the barangay to avoid costly litigations and court proceedings, and may help decrease the court’s docket congestion of cases.
3. Qualifications of mediators. To increase the credibility and efficiency of the mediators, they must not only possess exemplary character, they must also had achieved commendable educational status or achievement, or least possess a bachelor’s degree
4. Optional Election of Members. To avoid a subjective selection of Lupon members, a good way would be having an election. However, the question that will come out then is: Who will elect? The barangay council could be the answer to that. On the other hand, election is not provided in order to keep out politics from the barangay justice.
5. Effective Training of the Lupon Members. This includes basic seminars and lectures about several law subjects, especially Civil and Criminal Law. This may also include topics on Laws on Mediation, Writing of Compromise Agreements, and Filipino values and Culture. This is to enhance the knowledge of the members about laws that they may find useful in the Lupon.
Manuel, M., & Vigo, M. (2004). Katarungang Pambarangay: A Handbook.
(SALIGAN); Philippines-Canada Local Government Support Program (LGSP). Gullas, J. (1947). Philippine Government: Past and Present. Leueng, S. C. (1976). JUSTICE IN COMMUNIST CHINA: A SURVEY OF THE
REPUBLIC. Beijing, China. Martinez, A. M. (2002). Mediation in Courts in the Barangay Justice System. Philippine Judicial Journal, 74-80. Tan, B. K., & Pulido, M. G. (2006). KATARUNGANG PAMBARANGAY LAW: ITS GOALS, PROCESSES, AND IMPACT ON THE RIGHT AGAINST SELF-INCRIMINATION. Philippine Law Journal, 427. Uy vs. Contreras, G.R. No. 111416 (September 26, 1994). Ercide v. Hernandez, A.M. No. MTJ-00-1265, (April 6, 2000) Zaide, G. (1939). PHILIPPINE HISTORY AND CIVILIZATION.