Thursday, May 04, 2006

Barangay conciliation

Procedures in barangay conciliation

1. The offended party files his complaint orally or in written form to the Lupon chairman.
2. The Barangay Captain (or Lupon chairman) then summons the respondent within the next working day.
3. If the respondent fails to appear, he is barred from filing a counterclaim. If it is the complainant who fails to appear, he is barred from seeking recourse in court.
4. Mediation, conciliation or arbitration of the conflicting interests of the parties takes place through the Lupon. If the Lupon chairman fails in the mediation efforts within fifteen (15) days from the first meeting of the parties before him, he sets the date of the constitution of the Pangkat ng Tagapagkasundo.
5. Within three (3) days from its constitution, the Pangkat will summon the parties for a confrontation (no lawyers or representatives are allowed, except for cases involving minors or incompetents who may be assisted by their next of kin).
6. The Pangkat shall arrive at a settlement or resolution within fifteen days from the day it convenes (the period is extendible to another fifteen days in meritorious cases).
7. Either party may repudiate the settlement by filing a sworn statement within ten (10) days from the date of the written amicable settlement.
8. The amicable settlement or arbitration award may be executed by the Lupon within six (6) months from the date of the settlement. After this period, it may be enforced by a court action.
9. If within fifteen to thirty days the parties fail to amicably settle the matter, the Lupon issues a certification for filing of the action in court.
10. The complainant files the case in court for civil cases, or with the office of the public prosecutor (“fiscal”) for criminal cases.
Note: The prescriptive period for the filing of cases in court is interrupted by conciliation proceedings, up to 60 days from filing of the complaint with the Punong Barangay. Actions based on written contracts prescribe in ten years. Criminal cases involving BP 22 (bouncing checks) must be filed within four years from the time the check bounced; after that period, only a civil case for collection can be filed. The prescriptive period is tolled or interrupted by the filing of the complaint with the fiscal or public prosecutor's office.

Cases not covered by barangay conciliation (Local Government Code, Section 408)
1. Where one party is the government or any of its subdivision or instrumentality
2. Where one party is a public officer or employee, and the dispute relates to the performance of his official functions
3. Offenses punishable by imprisonment exceeding one year or by a fine exceeding five thousand pesos (Php 5,000.)
4. Offenses where there is no private offended party
Disputes not covered by barangay conciliation
1. Those involving parties who actually reside in barangays of different cities or municipalities, except where such barangays adjoin each other
2. Those involving real property located in different cities or municipalities
Note: In both cases, the parties may agree to submit their differences for amicable settlement by the appropriate Lupon.

Instances when the parties may go directly to court
1. Where the accused is under police custody or detention
2. Where a person has otherwise been deprived of personal liberty calling for habeas corpus proceedings
3. Actions coupled with provisional remedies such as preliminary injunction, temporary restraining orders, attachment, replevin, etc
4. Where the action may be barred by the Statute of Limitations (the law that bars the filing of an action after a prescribed period)
5. Labor disputes arising from an employer-employee relationship, or disputes arising from the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law