I am now facing a baseless complaint from my neighbor for defamation before the Lupon of our barangay. I would like to ask the procedure for changing a member of the Lupon who is biased?
A Lupon Tagapamayapa is created by virtue of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7160 otherwise known as the “Local Government Code of 1991”, wherein Article 387 (b) of the law provides that “there shall be in every barangay a lupong tagapamayapa”. The lupon is composed of the punong barangay as chairman and 10 to 20 members. A member of the lupon must be a person residing or working in the barangay, who is not otherwise expressly disqualified by law, and possessing integrity, impartiality, independence of mind, sense of fairness, and reputation for probity (Section 399, Local Government Code). The lupon has the following functions: (a) Exercise administrative supervision over the conciliation panels provided herein; (b) Meet regularly once a month to provide a forum for exchange of ideas among its members and the public on matters relevant to the amicable settlement of disputes, and to enable various conciliation panel members to share with one another their observations and experiences in effecting speedy resolution of disputes; and (c) Exercise such other powers and perform such other duties and functions as may be prescribed by law or ordinance. It is the Pangkat Tagapagkasundo, whose members are chosen from the Lupon, that conducts barangay mediation after efforts for mediation of lupon chairman fails (Section 410 (b), Local Government Code). The members of the pangkat is chosen by the parties from the members of the Lupon. If the parties fail to agree on the pangkat membership, the same shall be determined by lots drawn by the lupon chairman (Section 405, Local Government Code).
Thus, if a pangkat tagapagkasundo, who would conduct mediation regarding the compliant of your neighbor, is not yet constituted, we advise that you choose the members who have the qualifications as stated by the Local Government Code to best resolve the issue presented. If a pangkat is already constituted and it appears that one of the members thereof is biased, you may move to disqualify him on the said basis.
However, an affirmative vote of the majority of the pangkat is needed to resolve the said motion to disqualify, which decision shall be final (Section 410 [d], Local Government Code).
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.