BARANGAY JUSTICE SYSTEM

BARANGAY JUSTICE SYSTEM

December 14, 2022 @ 1:29 AM 2 months ago


THE barangay justice system was established primarily as a means of easing up the congestion of cases in the judicial courts.

Section 6 of Presidential Decree No. 1508 (otherwise known as the Katarungang Pambarangay Law) required the parties, subject to certain exceptions, to compulsorily undergo a conciliation process before the Lupon Chairman or the Pangkat ng Tagapagkasundo as a pre-condition to filing a complaint in court. The primary objective was to help relieve the courts of docket congestions and thereby enhance the quality of justice dispensed by the courts.

The Revised Katarungang Pambarangay Law under Republic Act No. 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991, which took effect on January 1, 1992, and which repealed PD 1508, introduced substantial changes not only in the authority granted to the Lupong Tagapamayapa but also in the procedure to be observed in the settlement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.
As the law stands, prior recourse to barangay conciliation is a pre-condition before a complaint is filed directly in court or any other government office. (Section 412[a] of RA No. 7160) In all katarungang pambarangay proceedings, the parties must appear in person without the assistance of counsel or representative, except for minors and incompetents who may be assisted by their next-of-kin who are not lawyers. (Section 415 of RA 7160)

The parties, however, may go directly to court in the following instances: (1) Where the accused is under detention; (2) Where a person has otherwise been deprived of personal liberty calling for habeas corpus proceedings; (3) Where actions are coupled with provisional remedies such as preliminary injunction, attachment, delivery of personal property and support pendente lite; and (4) Where the action may otherwise be barred by the statute of limitations. (Section 412[b] of RA 7160)

NOT JURISDICTIONAL IN NATURE

A case filed in court without compliance with prior Barangay conciliation-which is a pre-condition for formal adjudication-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 (Royales vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, January 31, 1984), or the court may suspend proceedings upon petition of any party and refer the case motu proprio to the appropriate Barangay authority.

It must be stressed that the non-referral of a case for barangay conciliation when so required under the law is not jurisdictional in nature, and may therefore be deemed waived if not raised seasonably in a motion to dismiss. (Banares II v. Balising, March 13, 2000)

PRIOR RECOURSE IS NOT REQUIRED

Prior recourse to barangay conciliation is not required in the following disputes: (1) Where one party is the government, or any subdivision or instrumentality thereof; (2) Where one party is a public officer or employee, and the dispute relates to the performance of his official functions; (3) Where the dispute involves real properties located in different cities and municipalities, unless the parties thereto agree to submit their difference to amicable settlement by an appropriate Lupon; (4) Any complaint by or against corporations, partnership or juridical entities; (5) Disputes involving parties who actually reside in barangays of different cities or 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; (6) 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); (7) Offenses where there is no private offended party; (8) Disputes where urgent legal action is necessary to prevent injustice from being committed or further continued; (9) Any class of disputes which the President may determine in the interest of justice or upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Justice; (10) Where the dispute arises from the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law; (11) Labor disputes or controversies arising from employer-employee relations; and (12) Actions to annul judgment upon a compromise which may be filed directly in court. (Administrative Circular No. 14-93, July 15, 1993)