All disputes generally subject of ‘barangay’ conciliation

Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
I had a disagreement with my neighbor. We hurled threatening words at each other, and we ended up in a fight. I wanted to file a case against him for threats and physical injuries. To my surprise, I was told that I should go to the barangay (village) council first. Do I really have to go to the council? When can I not go through barangay conciliation? Please advise.
Brian M.

Dear Brian M.,
The Katarungang Pambarangay system aims to promote the speedy disposition of cases, minimize the indiscriminate filing of cases in courts, and in effect, decongest the court dockets and enhance the quality of justice dispensed by the courts. In establishing a Katarungang Pambarangay system, the State recognizes the time-honored tradition of amicably settling disputes among family and barangay members at the barangay level (Presidential Decree (PD) 1508). In fact, settling the matter before the barangay is required by the Supreme Court as a condition for filing a complaint in court for cases covered by the system (Supreme Court Administrative Circular 14-93 issued on July 15, 1993).

As a general rule, all disputes may be the subject of barangay conciliation before the Katarungang Pambarangay, except for 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 employer, and the dispute relates to the performance of his official functions;

(3) Offenses punishable by imprisonment exceeding one year or a fine exceeding P5,000;

(4) Where there is no private offended party;

(5) Where the dispute involves real property located in different cities or municipalities unless the parties thereto agree to submit their differences to amicable settlement by an appropriate lupon (panel);

(6) Disputes involving parties who actually reside in barangay of different cities, except where such barangay units adjoin each other and the parties thereto agree to submit their differences to amicable settlement and by an appropriate lupon;

(7)Such other classes or disputeswhich the President may determine in the interest of justice or upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Justice (Sec. 408, Book 3, Title 1, Chapter 7, Republic Act or RA 7160).

In addition thereto, parties may go directly to court if the accused is under detention, or the person involved is otherwise deprived of personal liberty and needs habeas corpus proceedings, the action to be filed is coupled with provisional remedies such as attachment, injunction, delivery of personal property and support pendente lite, and where the action may be barred by the statute of limitations (Article 412b, Book III, Title I, Chapter 1, RA 7160).

According to your letter, you desire to file a complaint for physical injuries and threats against your neighbor. If the complaint you desire to file does not fall under any of the instances we have mentioned, then you must file the necessary complaint before the barangay to settle the matter before the lupon. If the conciliation proceedings before the barangay should fail, then you may request a Certificate to File Action, so you can file the appropriate complaint against your neighbor before the court or the office of the prosecutor. The certificate is a proof of compliance that you brought the matter before the barangay before filing it in court.

We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to


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1 Comment

  1. Good day atty. acosta and pardon if i sent my question on the wrong site as I am not so expert in computer nonetheless I want to ask some legal advise. This regards with the predicament of my in-laws. I have 12 in-laws and including my they are 13 children in all of my deceased father in law from two marriages. The first marriage bear 10 children and when the first wife die…my father in law legally married the younger sister of his late wife which bear 3 children including my wife. My father in law died in samar in 1990’s without a will and his second wife died in 2006. Since the death of his second wife in 2006..the estate of my father in law was co-managed only by two married children on first wife living in samar. The other 11 children are all living in manila for a long time although 4 of them are still single despite they are 50 to 60 years old already. The problem arises…when the other children living in manila for a long time claim the management of the estate from the two siblings in samar. Three of the 11 siblings in manila argue that it has been a long time that they do not benefit from the income of the estate and that the time has come for their turn to managed the estate. Another problem surfaces as it was revealed that 8 hectares of the 24 hectare estate are already in the name (w/ title) of the two sibling in samar. Although majority of the siblings had consent…their old ancestral house was demolished and a new house was constructed using a loan from pag-ibig which is now also an issue as the sibling who contracted the loan with pag-ibig had abandon her loan obligation. To avoid further disagreement among my in-laws…please advise me what to do to help them. thank you very much.