by Angel Grace D. Untalan, AUGUST 2021
The involvement of communities in empowering good governance is a vital factor in achieving justice specifically when it comes to the implementation of alternative tools aiming to pursue the speedy disposition of cases or disputes.
For one, it is necessary to undergo Barangay Conciliation which is a pre-condition before filing a complaint in court or any government offices, with several exceptions provided for under the Katarungang Pambarangay Rules.
A confrontation between parties must first ensue before the Lupon, a body composed of the Barangay Captain as chairman and not less than ten (10) nor more than twenty (20) members in each Barangay, before an action may be instituted.
Generally, the Lupon of each Barangay has the authority to gather the parties for amicable settlement of disputes if they are residing in the same city or municipality.
Settlement of disputes involving parties that reside in different Barangays in the same city or municipality shall be settled in the Barangay which any of the respondents reside, at the option of the complainant.
If the dispute arises at the workplace where the parties are employed, the same shall be brought in the Barangay where the said workplace is situated.
The Local Government Code and the Katarungang Pambarangay Rules govern the procedure for execution of amicable settlements before the Lupon.
The first stage of Initiatory Pleading allows for the filing of a motion with the Punong Barangay, copy furnished to the respondent, for the execution of a final settlement or award which has not been complied with.
The Punong Barangay shall then set a hearing upon receipt of the Motion for Execution on a date agreed by the one who filed the same. This should not be later than five (5) days from the date of filing of the motion.
After the hearing, the Punong Barangay shall determine whether or not voluntary compliance can be secured within five (5) days for the issuance of a Notice of Execution.
Any satisfaction of a settlement or award shall be entered by the Punong Barangay in his record, upon return of an execution satisfied, or upon the filing of admission of satisfaction of the settlement or award.
Consequences arising from the filing of cases without satisfying the Barangay Conciliation as a pre-condition include dismissal of any action filed should the Defendant file a Motion pointing out said non-compliance.
This Motion for Dismissal stating the non-referral of any case to a Barangay Conciliation is needed before the actual dismissal may be considered by the Court.
The following cases not covered by Barangay Conciliation are laid down in Administrative Circular No. 14-93:
- Where one party is the government or any subdivision or instrumentality thereof;
- Where one party is a public officer or employee, and the dispute relates to the performance of his official functions;
- Where the dispute involves real properties located in different cities and municipalities unless the parties hereto agree to submit their difference to amicable settlement by an appropriate Lupon;
- Any complaint by or against corporations, partnership or juridical entities, since only individuals shall be parties to Barangay Conciliation proceedings either as complainants or respondents;
- Disputes involving parties who reside in barangays of different cities or municipalities, except where such barangay units adjoin each other and the parties hereto agree to submit their differences to amicable settlement by an appropriate Lupon;
- Offenses for which the law prescribes a maximum penalty of imprisonment exceeding one (1) year or a fine over five thousand pesos (P5,000.00);
- Offenses where there is no private offended party;
- Any class of disputes which the President may determine in the interest of justice or upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Justice;
- Where the dispute arises from the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law;
- Labor disputes or controversies arising from employer-employee relations; and
- Actions to annul judgment upon a compromise that may be filed directly in court.
An aggrieved party involved in disputes requiring urgent legal action may opt to directly go to court only on the following instances:
- Accused is under detention;
- A person has been deprived of liberty calling for habeas corpus proceedings;
- Action may be barred by the statute of limitations; and
- Action entailing a provisional remedy.
In case the Barangay Conciliation or mediation proceedings failed, the aggrieved party may request the issuance of a Certificate to File Action, which is a requisite for filing actions in court on cases covered by the Katarungang Pambarangay.
Alternative Dispute Resolution, a separate system that intends to resolve disputes and controversies without involving courts to adjudicate comes in different forms. Examples of which are Arbitration, Mediation, Conciliation, Neutral and Early Neutral Evaluation, Mini-trial, and at times, a combination of methods.
Arbitration and mediation are both voluntary, where the former appoints arbitrators following the agreement of the parties or through the rules promulgated under the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act while the latter selects a Mediator to negotiate and assist the parties in reaching a voluntary agreement involving the dispute.
About the writer:
Angel Grace D. Untalan. A Legal Management graduate with an inclination to pursue the field of higher arts. She is moderately comfortable with social interaction, but can also relish her time off from the crowd. Her works are influenced by distinguished screenwriters such as Gene Roddenberry, George R.R. Martin, and Quentin Tarantino. She aspires to become a law practitioner at The Hague, who has published papers in a Scopus-indexed journal at some point in the future.