Slap a lupon member at your own legal risk

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Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
In one conciliation proceedings here in our barangay (village) where I was the complainant, I slapped one of the members of the Lupon Tagapamayapa because of his biased stand or opinion favoring my opponent. The Lupon member said he will file a case for direct assault against me. I immediately researched on provisions of the Revised Penal Code about direct assault, and I did not find there any information stating that a member of the Lupon is a person in authority. Please help me.        
Derick

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Dear Derick,
The crime of direct assault is punishable under the Revised Penal Code (RPC) of the Philippines. This crime is committed by “any person or persons who, without public uprising, shall employ force or intimidation for the attainment of any of the purposes enumerated in defining the crimes of rebellion and sedition, or shall attack, employ forced or seriously intimidate or resist any person in authority or any of his agents, while engaged in the performance of official duties, or on occasion of such performance, xxxx (Article 148, Revised Penal Code).”

Under Article 152 of the same law, “any person directly vested with jurisdiction, whether as an individual or as a member of some court or government corporation, board, or commission, shall be deemed a person in authority. A barrio captain and a barangay chairman shall also be deemed a person in authority. A person who by direct provision of law or by election or by appointment by competent authority, is charged with the maintenance of public order and the protection and security of life and property, such as a barrio captain, barrio councilman, barrio policeman and barangay leader and any person who comes to the aid of persons in authority, shall be deemed an agent of a person in authority. In applying the provisions of Articles 148 and 151 of this code, teachers, professors and persons charged with the supervision of public or duly recognized private schools, colleges and universities, shall be deemed person in authority.”

Correlative to the above-mentioned provision of law is Section 406 (a), Chapter VII of the Local Government Code (Republic Act 7160) that explicitly provides that “the lupon members, while in the performance of their official duties or on the occasion thereof, shall be deemed as persons in authority, as defined in the Revised Penal Code.”

It is very clear from the provision of law mentioned in the immediately preceding paragraph that a “lupon member” while in the performance of duty shall be considered a person in authority. Your action then in slapping the lupon member during the conciliation proceedings would make you liable for direct assault.

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 dearpao@manilatimes.net

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