Dora is indebted to me in the amount of P190,000. I tried to collect this amount from her, but she refused to pay. I filed a complaint before the barangay and presented the agreement that we have signed to support my claim. Nothing happened on our first meeting. The same thing happened on the second meeting.
Because of this, I requested for the issuance of Certificate to File Action, so that I could file my complaint before the proper court. The Barangay Chairman refused to issue the Certificate to File Action claiming that it is necessary that we must agree to settle the case before the barangay. I know that the Barangay Chairman is taking sides with Dora, because they are somehow related. Is it really compulsory for us to settle the dispute before the barangay?
It is not compulsory for the parties to settle their issues before the Barangay. What is compulsory is that the disputes which are within the jurisdiction of the barangay shall be referred first for barangay conciliation/mediation proceedings before the same could be elevated to the proper court or government agencies. This finds support under Section 412 of Republic Act (R.A.) No.7160 which states that:
“No complaint, petition, action, or proceeding involving any matter within the authority of the lupon shall be filed or instituted directly in court or any other government office for adjudication, unless there has been confrontation between the parties before the lupon chairman or the pangkat, and that no conciliation or settlement has been reached as certified by the lupon secretary or pangkat secretary as attested to by the lupon or pangkat chairman or unless the settlement has been repudiated by the parties thereto”.
The Supreme Court also said in Pang-et vs. Manacnes (G.R. No. 167261, March 2, 2007), that:
“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. In other words, the only necessary pre-condition before any case falling within the authority of the Lupon or the Pangkat may be filed before a court is that there has been personal confrontation between the parties but despite earnest efforts to conciliate, there was a failure to amicably settle the dispute. Xxx xxx “.
In your case, it is sufficient that you have undergone the barangay conciliation/mediation proceedings before filing your complaint in court or proper government agencies. All you have to do is to request for the issuance of Certificate to File Action which shall serve as proof that the parties have undergone the conciliation or mediation process before the barangay.
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org