I have a friend who is having problems with his neighbor. He is considering filing a complaint before their lupon ng barangay but he is not sure whether their problems can be resolved there. I just want to ask what kind of cases or problems can be resolved by the lupon and what are those that may not be resolved by them. Thank you and more power.
Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1508, otherwise known as the Katarungang Pambarangay Law, was enacted in order to provide an avenue for party-litigants to thresh out their concerns and disputes before the lupon ng barangay, with the optimism of reducing cases filed before our courts. When Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7610 was enacted, it repealed the provisions of P. D. No. 1508 pertaining to the barangay. Nevertheless, R.A. No. 7610 strengthened the rules concerning dispute resolutions before the barangay level.
At present, the general rule is that the lupon of each barangay has the authority to mediate and resolve disputes between parties who are actually residing in the same city or municipality (Section 408, R. A. No. 7610). This includes money claims, criminal cases and suits between members of the same family.
However, the authority of the lupon is not all-encompassing. The lupon has no jurisdiction over the following disputes: (1) if one of the parties is the government, or any subdivision or instrumentality thereof; (2) if one of the parties 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 a fine exceeding five thousand pesos; (4) offenses where there is no private offended party; (5) if it involves real properties located in different cities or municipalities, unless the parties thereto agree to submit their differences to amicable settlement by an appropriate lupon; (6) if it involves parties actually residing 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; and (7) those which the President may determine in the interest of justice or upon recommendation of the Secretary of Justice (Section 408, R. A. No. 7610).
In addition to the foregoing, disputes arising from the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) cannot be passed upon by the lupon as authority is vested upon the Barangay Agrarian Reform Committee (Sections 46 and 47, R. A. No. 6657). Likewise, labor disputes may not be the subject of barangay conciliation as resolution of these matters is only left within the jurisdiction of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) (Article 226, Labor Code of the Philippines).
Lastly, while family members may bring their legal concerns before the Barangay, they may not seek amicable settlement before the lupon if it involves: (a) civil status of persons; (b) validity of a marriage or a legal separation; (c) any ground for a legal separation; (d) future support; (e) jurisdiction of courts; and (f) future legitime (Article 2035, Civil Code of the Philippines).
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