Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Philippine's barangay justice system

For purposes of legal research of the visitors of this blog, digested below are the main recommendations contained in the “STUDY ON THE EFFICACY AND EFFICIENCY OF THE BARANGAY JUSTICE SYSTEM (KATARUNGANG PAMBARANGAY): FINAL REPORT” funded by the GERRY ROXAS FOUNDATION, released in March 2000, for the benefit of the Action Program for Judicial Reform of the Philippine Supreme Court, thus:

X x x.

7.0 Recommendations to Improve the BJS Implementaion

7.1 Training

Based on an assesment of training needs several training programs were recommended by the Lupon Chairman, Lupon Members, and Lupon Secretary

respondents:

(a) Procedures of settlement of barangay cases

(b) Mediation/Conciliation/Arbitration procedures

(c) KP Laws

(d) Administrative requirements of the KP Law

(e) Current updates of human right violation

(f) Classification of cases

(g) Procedure in organizing LT/Duties and Function of Lupon

Chairman/Member/Secretary.

Other training areas outside of KP system were also identified by the

implementors.

A number of respondents put high priority on Barangay Administration & Governance.

Additional training identified by the implementors based on their needs are:

(a) Operations and Management -

(b) Rental Law

(c) Public Administration

(d) Human Relations

(e) Children’s Rights

(f) Gender/Women’s Rights

(g) New Family Code

X x x.

7.2 Monitoring

Strengthening of the KP Monitoring System was also identified as a priority area

by implementors. Among the recommendations described to improve the monitoring system include: Funding support for KP Operations, designing a simplified form for reporting and strengthening of the KP Monitoring Unit.

7.3 Other Recommendations to Improve Overall Implementation of BJS

A major recommendation is to enhance advocacy activities on the KP and intensify information dissemination specially in the barangays. Another significant activity suggested by 22% of Barangay Chairman respondent is to require new law graduates to render assistance to the Barangay. Twenty (20) percent of Lupon Member respondents also recommend the provision of allowance to LT Members.

X x x.

PART III

CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Metro Manila is a melting pot of the different cultures and traditions of the various

migrants that have poured into the area. Little wonder that the NCR research findings generally echo the findings elsewhere in the Philippines. Thus, in the areas where the BJS is functioning, the citizens look to it as their “court”, their avenue for their quest for justice in case of conflicts. This attests to the success, though not on a scale as envisioned, of the BJS to assist the judiciary in

declogging court dockets.

a. Need for more information. Significant is the need for information, by both the beneficiaries and the implementors, on the KP Law itself. The need notwithstanding, it is evident that barangay residents see the BJS as the venue for the settlement/resolution of conflicts, even before they even think of going to the formal judicial system for redress. The awareness that an avenue is available for conflict resolution stems not so much from knowledge of the law — both procedural and substantive, as from practical awareness of what is going in the barangay.

The historical root of the KP law finds itself alive today in the sense that the citizens feel part of a community, the barangay, that will help them settle conflicts

through its chief or barangay captain. The citizens are not only beneficiaries but also participants in the process of seeking justice, through the Lupon.

Although the essence of settlement on the barangay level does away with the

merits of the conflict, inevitably though, by the very nature of a conflict, the parties agree with a settlement only after they have been made aware and appraised of their rights and obligations as well as the breaches that led to the conflict. After all, justice, which to them is giving one what is due him, is anchored on the respect for one’s rights. This belief rationalizes the need for information of the both substantive and procedural law — to equip the barangay captains and the Lupon members on the basics of the law. In effect the barangay captain and/or the Lupon take on the complexion of a “parajudge”.

b. Lack of budgetary support

Mercenary as it sounds, considering that the heart of the BJS is the encouragement of citizen volunteerism, money plays a significant role in the determination of whether or not the BJS has succeeded or will succeed. Section

393 of the Local Government Code (1991) provides that Lupon members be compensated in accordance with a municipal or barangay ordinance Thus, while the barangay has the power and authority to provide financial support to the BJS, it does not.

c. The citizens support the BJS because it is accessible, conflicts are resolved/settled fast, and inexpensive.

Whatever support is given by the citizen is essentially moral. He avails himself of

the BJS; a tribute to the avowed purpose which the citizen trusts is fulfilled.

Basically, the citizen goes to the BJS for conflict resolution because it is accessible, physical proximity is thus not to be underestimated. Compared to case resolution in the courts, which take a short year or a long twenty years, BJS

conflict resolution takes a maximum of one month. Just as important is the expense involved. Barangays charge a minimum of P20.00 (if at all) though they are authorized to legislate a higher amount, i.e. P50.00. Nonetheless, compared to what the courts charge, the amount is very small, thus affordable to those who

need more in law — the disadvantaged.

d. Need to review the KP Law

d.1. The Lupon and the Pangkat

In an informal interview, it was found that one of the more successful barangays, insofar as the implementation of the BJS was concerned, adopted procedures that suited their perceived needs that did not conform with the provisions of law. The Lupon, made up of 20 members, were divided into 6 groups of three each, with 2 members as “roving”. When a complaint is filed, the barangay captain “raffles” it any one of the six “divisions” of the Lupon, which then proceeds to settle/resolve the case. The “division”, apparently the Pangkat is not constituted with the participation of the disputants.

This barangay claims to have a high success rate. It is suggested that a case study be conducted on this barangay to determine the effectivity of the method used. The results would provide information and inputs to whether or not the KP law should be amended and if so, with regards what provisions.

e. The court dockets are declogged.

The findings confirm the reports submitted to the DILG regarding the number of cases that do not find their way to the courts.

The court dockets are declogged.

The findings confirm the reports submitted to the DILG regarding the number of cases that do not find their way to the courts.

X x x.

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