I am just curious as to what cases should be filed before the Barangay, because I am planning to file a complaint against my former boyfriend who is also the father of my 5-year-old son. He took my son without my consent, and brought the child to Sulu where he is residing now. His intention is to deprive me of custody over my son. Do I need to file my complaint first before the Barangay where the father of my child resides?
For your information, the Local Government Code or Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7160 does not enumerate cases that can be brought before the Barangay, but it enumerates cases which are exempted from the Barangay conciliation proceedings and these are the following:
a) Where one party is the government or any subdivision or instrumentality thereof;
b) Where one party is a public officer or employee, and the dispute relates to the performance of his official functions;
c) Offenses punishable by imprisonment exceeding one (1) year or a fine exceeding five thousand pesos (P5,000.00);
d) Offenses where there is no private offended party;
e) Where the dispute involves real properties located in different cities or municipalities unless the parties thereto submit their differences to amicable settlement by an appropriate lupon;
f) 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;
g) Such other classes of disputes which the President may determine in the interest of justice or upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Justice (Section 408, Chapter VII, RA No. 7160).
In addition to the abovementioned cases, the following under Section 412 (b) of the said law, are cases where the parties may go directly to court, to wit:
1) Where the accused is under detention;
2) Where the person has otherwise been deprived of personal liberty calling for habeas corpus proceedings;
3) Where actions are coupled with the 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 statute of limitations.
In your case, if you intend to file a petition for habeas corpus, you can file it directly with the court of appropriate jurisdiction. The same is true even if you file a petition in court to gain custody of your son, because you are residing in different barangays of different cities or municipalities.
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to email@example.com