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21200493 understanding-the-katarungang-pambarangay

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Barangay Justice System

Barangay Justice System

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  • 1. 2009 Understanding the Katarungang Pambarangay Justice at the grassroots Barraca, Delorino, Duman, Dumlao, Grepo, Ocampo, Reyes and Salazar A project for the Local Governments course under Professor Rowena Guanzon. University of the Phillipines - College of Law.
  • 2. TABLE OF CONTENTSAbbreviations 2Introduction 3Chapter 1: Justice at the Grassroots and theKatarangungang Pambarangay 5Informal justice in the developing world 6Access to justice 7Decongesting the courts’ dockets 8Chapter 2: Performance and Implementation 11Instrumental worth 11Attitude change 12Issues encountered in KP implementation 14Chapter 3: Inside the University is a Community:KP Implementation in Barangay UP Campus 15Lupong Tagapamayapa 15Barangay Justice work 16The creation of a strong Lupong Tagapamayapa 17Cases handled 20Chapter 4: Anti-VAWC Training for BarangayUP Officials 22Bibliography 27List of Tables, Figures and AnnexesFigure 1.1: Where do we find informal justice systemsFigure 1.2: Vacancies in the courts (by percentage)Figure 2.1: Resolution of KP cases (1982-2008) – National totalFigure 2.2: Settled cases vs. cases certified for filing in court (1980-2008)Figure 3.1: Cases filed before the Barangay UP’s KP (August 2008 –June 2009)Figure 3.2: Cases filed before the Barangay UP’s KP by type (August 2008 –June 2009)Table 1.1: Court case disposition rate (by type of court 1997-2007)Table 1.2: Vacancies in the judiciary as of end-2008 1Table 2.1: Judges level of satisfaction with the KP system PageAnnex 1: Cases ObservedAnnex 2: Barangay UP’s KP Flowchart in Handling CasesAnnex 3: Barangay UP’s Brochures
  • 3. ABBREVIATIONSBP Batas PambansaBPO Barangay Protection OrderBPSO Barangay Police and Security OrderDILG Department of Interior and Local GovernmentDOJ Department of JusticeFCHC Family and Community Healing CenterKP Katarangungang PambarangayKPES Katarangungang Pambarangay Electronic SystemLupon Lupong TagapamayapaNGO Non-governmental OrganizationsPangkat Pangkat ng TagapagsundoPD Presidential DecreePhP Philippine PesoPOs People’s OrganizationsRA Republic ActSWS Social Weather StationTPO Temporary Protection OrderUP University of the PhilippinesUSAID United States Agency for International DevelopmentVAWC Violence Against Women and their Children 2 Page
  • 4. IntroductionThis paper does not attempt to do a policy evaluation of the Katarungang Pambarangay (KP)system. Limitations in time, resources, and case samples, prevent us from pursuing suchobjective. But it is properly an attempt to appreciate how a particular aspect of governance - thedelivery of justice – works in the country’s basic political unit. It likewise attempts to find outhow an innovative practice can be fully utilized to benefit communities.In Chapter 1, we explain how KP plays a pivotal role in a developing country like the Philippinesby addressing a major problem of the disadvantaged sectors: denial of access to justice. We takea look at the history of KP and the policy declarations accompanying its conception to identifyhow it was supposed to address the predicament.The limits of statisticsChapter 2 asks if the KP has lived up to its promise. It provides a picture of KP’s performancesince the 1980s, when PD 1508 created the first KP system. We found positive statistics: thenumber of cases settled was far greater than those certified for filing in courts. It thus continuesto be a part of the solution to our courts’ thickening dockets. The amount of money that the KPsaves for government in terms of litigation costs is also substantial. And the people, who wereexposed to the KP process, have been found to have favorable views toward it. Based on thedata, it seems to have met the goals that were set when it was conceived.A caveat though: statistics may leave an impression that the KP is implemented uniformly orthat it is successful everywhere. We recognize that there are barangays, which have not put aneffective KP mechanism in place for a number of reasons: poor leadership, lack of capacity, etc.Statistics also do not tell us why certain barangays do well. What advantages or resources dothey have that others lack? What process do they employ to make KP successful?Why Barangay UP?In order to answer these questions, we need to see how KP is done on the ground. We chose toobserve a barangay that is close to home, so to speak – Barangay University of the PhilippinesCampus. But personal affinity is not the main reason behind this choice.Since resource and time limitations did not permit us to do comparisons of the KPimplementation in several barangays and “separate the chaff from the wheat”, the team decidedto identify a barangay that has a recognized record. We intended to cite the practices that seemto have contributed to good results. We noted that Barangay UP’s KP unit had received awardsfrom the Quezon City government, in fact, as of this writing on October 12, 2009, they received aBest Lupon Tagapamayapa Practice award during the 70th Foundation Day of Quezon City given 3by DILG-NCR. PageWe visited the barangay five times during the months of September and October, 2009. Two ofthose visits were spent mainly for observing KP hearings. Some of the cases that we observedare used as illustrations in the different chapters (see case boxes); the rest are reported in
  • 5. Annex 1. We used the other visits to gather data and do some interviews. Our insights from allof these are found in Chapter 3.Anti-VAWC TrainingThe last chapter highlights the training on the Anti-Violence against Women and their Children(VAWC) Act (RA 9262), which the team organized for members of the Lupong Tagapamayapa ofBarangay UP, personnel from the barangay’s Family and Community Healing Center and otherofficials on September 23, 2009.The training was organized, based on the request of and feedback that the team got from somebarangay officials. The team thought this can be a good contribution to the UP community andagreed to link Barangay UP with an NGO that has long experience on VAWC. We were able toget the assistance of Atty. Bobby Sta. Maria of SALIGAN (Sentro ng Alternatibong LingapPanligal), who had an interesting interaction with the participants. 4 Page
  • 6. WHAT I LOVE MOST (ABOUT LAW)? IS EVERY NOW AND AGAIN , NOT ALWAYS, BUT OCCASIONALLY , YOU GET TO BE A PART OF JUSTICE BEING DONE . THAT REALLY IS QUITE A THRILL WHEN THAT HAPPENS . – TOM H ANKS IN PHILADELPHIAChapter 1 Justice at the Grassroots and the Katarungang PambarangayIt is the frontline. The barangay, unknown to many, is where much of actual governance takesplace, where the government and the citizens meet face to face. More than a hundred roles havebeen assigned to barangays by the Local Government Code and various special laws – rangingfrom the delivery of basic services to women and children protection under RA 9262. It is awonder how barangays are able to perform all of these obligations, in view of their limitedresources and personnel. Yet, we find that they have also been given a significant (anunderstatement, perhaps) role in a process that keeps societies intact: making justice work.Under the present Local Government Code1, the Katarungang Pambarangay system provides away for members of a barangay (or barangays within the same municipality or city, or adjacentbarangays but from different municipalities/cities) to settle their disputes through mediation,conciliation and arbitration without resorting to the formal justice system; i.e., the courts. Theprocess is handled by the Lupong Tagapamayapa, made up of the barangay captain as chair and10-20 members, who are residing or working in the barangay and of proven integrity,impartiality and have the reputation for probity.A complaint in cases falling under the jurisdiction of the Lupon2 is filed after payment of aminimal fee, which in the case of Barangay UP is PhP 100. A day after receipt of the complaint,the barangay captain is supposed to summon the parties to the dispute for mediation. Failing atthat, the barangay captain shall then refer the case to the pangkat ng tagapagsundo (a group ofthree KP members) for conciliation proceedings.3 At any stage, the parties may also submit thecase for arbitration by the barangay captain or pangkat.4 None of the parties is represented bycounsel during these proceedings (See Annex 2).In the case of the barangay observed for this project, the barangay captain could not mediate allthe cases filed before the KP due to the volume of cases filed; many of the cases are directlysubmitted to the pangkat. “If I do all these cases, how will I do all the other functions of myoffice? How can I govern?,” said the barangay captain. 5 Page1 See Section 399-422 of Republic Act 7160 (1991 Local Government Code).2 Section 408, supra3 Section 410, supra4 Section 413, supra
  • 7. Informal justice in the developing worldAs we can observe from the map below (Figure 1.1), informal justice systems such as the KP arefound mostly in the developing countries of Africa, South America, South and East Asia. The twopoints in the Philippines represent the KP and the reconciliation mechanisms of its indigenouscultural communities.The prevalence of informal justice systems in these regions are rooted in both the past and thepresent realities. They are a product of the past, as they are patterned after, if notreproductions, of traditional means of dispute settlement. The KP, for instance, recognizestraditional modes of disputes resolution borne out of time-honored traditions of pakikisama(community-spirit), utang na loob (debt of gratitude) and kinship (Villarin and Dayag-Laylo,n.d.). For example, since the venue of the proceedings is the community where the parties liveor work, friends and neighbors help to settle the issues amicably.In the present, these informal processes continue to be relevant as they address the issue ofpoverty. People in development work recognize that poverty is not limited to materialdeficiency; poverty can also take the form of the inability of persons to secure their basic rights.Most of the disadvantaged who suffer from injuries are wont to go through circuitousadministrative or judicial procedures to secure their rights. The costs alone are prohibitive,especially for people who barely, if at all, earn enough for food. Note that in the Philippines, 32.9percent of the population falls below the poverty line.5FIGURE 1.1 WHERE DO WE FIND INFORMAL JUSTICE SYSTEMS?Source: Wojkowska (2006). The list is not exhaustive. 6 Page5 2006 NSO Poverty Statistics
  • 8. Case 1 All in a day’s work.Access to justice Miguel and his nephew were having beer in front ofIndeed, greater access to justice was the declared policy behind the their house, wheninstitutionalization of KP, first under PD 1508 and later, BP 337 respondent, Arthur, passed(1983 Local Government Code). It is also the rationale behind the by. He allegedly badexpanded jurisdiction and powers of the KP under RA 7160 (1991 mouthed them, resulting inLocal Government Code), which repealed the two previous an argument. Arthurlegislation. attacked Miguel, causing injuries that required someThe level of access is measurable on three levels: (1) the number of stitches.mechanisms from which citizens are able6 and willing to choose (2)the physical availability of these mechanisms and (3) the speed by On the first hearing, thewhich the disputes are resolved. respondent immediately admitted what he did. TheCurrently, there are various alternative modes of dispute pangkat members, sensingsettlement under the Arbitration Law [RA 876, (1953)], Rule 18 of the willingness of thethe Rules on Civil Procedure (pre-trial conference), and the parties to settle the issue,Alternative Dispute Resolution Act [RA 9285(2004)]. However, reinforced this attitude bythese still involve legal procedures and employ jargons that can be encouraging them to talk todaunting to non-lawyers. The lack of understanding of these formal each other and state theirmechanisms – due to unfamiliarity with the language used, complex demands, while the KPprocedures, and low level of legal literacy – are the usual reasons members observed.cited by the underprivileged for not resorting to the formal justicesystem (Wojkowska, 2006). Miguel said that he was no longer seeking damages toIn the KP system, the parties are in familiar surroundings and reimburse him for hisdiscuss the issues with fellow members of the community, who may medical expenses. Hebe acquaintances and use familiar language. The discussion also merely wanted assurancetakes the air of informality; jokes are oftentimes made to lower the that the incident will not betension between parties. These may be the reasons why many of repeated and an apologythe parties interviewed for this project said that the barangay was from Arthur. The lattertheir first choice of venue for settling their problems. agreed to the demands. A Lupon member said thatThe KP process is also physically accessible to the parties since the the case was easily settledvenue is the barangay itself where they reside or work; that means because the parties agreedless transportation costs. The filing fee is also minimal (PhP 100) to stipulate the factsand there is no need to pay lawyer’s fees and other litigation costs. pertaining to the cause of the injury. It also helpedFinally, it is faster than court proceedings, with problems settled in that the victim was able toa matter of days or weeks rather than years, typical in court sense humility on the part oflitigation (Golub, 2003). In one KP case observed for this paper, the the respondent.conflict between the disputants (involving physical injuries) was 7 Pagesettled immediately, during the initial hearing (See Case 1).6 This is affected by the costs that the mechanism entails and the physical accessibility of the same.
  • 9. A comment by Supreme Court of the Philippines isinstructive: “[A] personal confrontation between the parties without the intervention of a counsel or representative would generate spontaneity and a favorable disposition to amicable settlement on the part of the disputant. In other words, the said procedure is deemed conducive to the successful resolution of the dispute (Ledesma v. CA, G.R. No. 96914, July 23, 1992). ” Party to a case trying to explain her side ofDecongesting the courts’ dockets the story. Legislators also saw KP as a means to decongest the courts’ dockets, by encouraging thesettlement of minor cases at the barangay level, which will in turn allow the courts to speed upthe adjudication of already pending cases. This again relates to the access-to-justice problem inthe country.To ensure that the goal is met, the Local Government Code makes KP mediation and conciliationa condition precedent to the filing of cases in court. 7 Though non-compliance does not result injurisdictional defect thereby rendering the court proceedings void ab initio, such failure, ifseasonably raised, makes the case vulnerable to a motion to dismiss on the ground ofprematurity (Garces v. CA, 162 SCRA 504).TABLE 1.1 COURT CASE DISPOSITION RATE (BY TYPE OF COURT, 1997-2007) Court 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007Total 0.59 0.63 0.69 0.70 0.70 0.74 0.82 0.85 0.85Supreme Court 1.22 1.10 1.10 1.00 0.98 0.97 ... ...Court of Appeals 0.77 0.87 0.99 0.93 1.00 0.96 ... ... 1.24Sandiganbayan 0.80 1.46 1.48 1.28 3.75 1.98 0.97 1.17 2.24Court of Tax Appeals 0.74 0.78 1.10 0.84 0.72 0.73 0.71 1.21 1.28Regional Trial Courts 0.69 0.71 0.72 0.68 0.64 0.69 0.79 0.79 0.78Metropolitan Trial 0.43 0.45 0.49 0.59 0.60 0.68 0.76 0.73 0.75CourtsMunicipal Trial Courts 0.59 0.64 0.73 0.79 0.75 0.87 0.84 0.88 0.93in CitiesMunicipal Trial Courts 0.61 0.62 0.80 0.72 0.79 0.77 0.89 1.03 1.03Municipal Circuit Trial 0.64 0.67 0.73 0.75 0.80 0.76 0.95 1.12 1.16Courts 8Sharia District Courts 1.06 1.03 0.78 0.81 2.80 1.5 1.17 0.77 1.65 PageSharia Circuit Courts 0.97 0.90 0.98 0.93 0.66 0.89 0.90 1.07 0.827 Section 412, 1991 Local Government Code
  • 10. Source: Supreme Court of the Philippines.Note: Court-case disposition rate is the ratio of total cases in a year over total cases filed. A ratio ofless than 1 indicates an increasing backlog; greater than 1, decreasing backlog; and equal to 1means that the backlog is being maintained.Table 1.1, above, shows that the objective of KP to unclog the court’s dockets still resonatestoday. In the last decade, the courts have been unable to dispose all the cases that are filed eachyear, although the disposition rate has been going up, reaching 85% in 2007. There have beensuccesses in decongesting the dockets of the appellate, specialized and municipal trial courts.However, the regional trial courts in cities and the regional trial courts have performed poorly(see figures in red), as cases continue to pile up.TABLE 1.2 VACANCIES IN THE JUDICIARY AS OF END -2008 FIGURE 1. 2 VACANCIES IN THE COURTS (BY PERCENTAGE )Source: Supreme CourtThe problem of case backlog is also exacerbated by the number of vacancies in the courts. TheSupreme Court (2009) noted that 519 out of 2,290 judicial positions were unfilled by the end of2008. That means a vacancy rate of 22.06% (See Table 1.2). And ninety-four percent (94%) ofthese vacancies are in the municipal, city and trial courts, where the backlogs are also greater(See Figure 1.2)What implications can be derived from these statistics?First, the need for alternative processes like the KP is more pronounced in urban areas andpopulation centers, since the unresolved court cases in these jurisdictions are also higher.Second, resort to formal judicial channels will entail great loss of time. Lastly, it can be surmisedthat there are too many disincentives to the filing of cases in courts - higher litigation costs as 9trial drags on, opportunity costs, psychological impact of protracted trial, loss of income, etc. – Pageespecially for the disadvantaged. Absent the KP, many of them will just sleep on their rights.
  • 11. As a United Nations worker aptly observed: “Informal justice systems are often more accessible to poor and disadvantaged people and may have the potential to provide quick, cheap and culturally relevant remedies…They are the cornerstone of dispute resolution and access to the justice for the majority of the population, especially the poor and the disadvantaged in many countries, where informal justice systems usually resolve between 80-90% of disputes (Wojkowska, 2006, p.6).” 10 Page
  • 12. Chapter 2 Performance and implementationAccording to the 2007 baseline study conducted for the Access to Justice for the Poor Project,98% of the total 41,995 barangays all over the country or around 41,155 barangays havefunctional barangay justice systems. This indicates a continuous increase from the datarecorded in 1999 in a study funded by USAID, where 38,008 barangays out of the total 39,721barangays at the time have a Lupong Tagapamayapa in place.Empirical studies on the effectiveness of the KP recognize two kinds of outcomes resulting fromimplementation: i.e., instrumental and intrinsic worth. The instrumental worth focuses on thecontribution of the KP in de-clogging court dockets and thereby generating government savings.The intrinsic worth, on the other hand, measures the success of the KP in terms of behavioralchanges in the community, and the access of vulnerable groups to some form of security, disputeresolution and justice apart from its role in de-clogging court dockets.Instrumental worthThe 2009 national summary report from the DILG Bureau of Local Government Supervisionshows that out of the total 6,187,681 reported cases filed before the Lupons all over the countryfrom 1980-2008, 79% or 4,873,311 cases were settled at the barangay level. Only 6% of thetotal or 369,108 cases were certified for filing before judicial courts. The remaining 15% of thecases were dismissed, repudiated, or remained pending.Out of the total number of settled cases, 52% were settled through mediation, 17% throughconciliation and 3% through arbitration. The remaining 28% of the settled cases are notclassified in the DILG summary report as these cases were settled prior to RA 7160 (See Figure2.1).FIGURE 2.1 RESOLUTION KP CASES (1982-2008) -NATIONAL TOTAL 11 PageSource: Own construction with primary data from DILG
  • 13. Based on the number of cases settled, the government estimates savings amounting to PhP32.137 billion from 1980-2008. The estimate assumes that all of the settled cases would havebeen filed before the courts. The estimated government savings per case settled at the barangayin 2008 is PhP 9,500 per case.A historical trend of the number of total cases as well as those that were settled and certifiedfrom 1992 to 2008 is provided in Figure 2.2. The line for cases classified as “others” refers todismissed, repudiated and pending cases.It may be observed that while the total number of cases filed before the Lupons surged anddropped over time, the number of settled cases significantly shadowed the trend. The number ofcases settled has been significantly higher than those which have ended up in court (i.e. certifiedcases). The KP therefore can claim success in meeting its purpose of reducing the courts’dockets.FIGURE 2.2 SETTLED CASES VS. CASES CERTIFIED FOR FILING IN COURT (1980-2008) 450,000 400,000 350,000 Number of Cases 300,000 250,000 total 200,000 settled 150,000 certified 100,000 others 50,000 - YearSource: Own construction with primary data from DILGAttitude ChangeThe implementation of the KP is also important in itself, with or without regard to itscontribution in de-clogging court dockets. A study by Prof. Alfredo Tadiar in 1984 shows thatthrough the KP, members of the community developed high regard to settling interpersonaldisputes (Villarin and Dayag-Laylo, n.d.). Another study by Prof. Fernando Zialcita in 1989 12confirms this intrinsic worth as the charismatic legitimacy people attribute to the KP, whichempowers members of the community to settle their disputes among themselves (Villarin and PageDayag-Laylo, n.d.). In a more recent impact study conducted by the Gerry Roxas Foundation(2006) for the Dalan Kalinaw Mindanaw Project, disputes were prevented from escalating intoviolent and bloody conflicts in the project areas especially regarding land disputes and familyfeuds. Participation in community projects and activities also increased including inter-ethniccollaboration, which contributed to peace in the communities.
  • 14. Case 2 Cooling offThe Tadiar study identified the following factors that contributed to “Mabuti na na may kaharapthe effectiveness of the KP: processing speed, use of local language ng iba. Kapag sa bahay langin the proceedings, informal atmosphere, low costs, adaptableschedule of hearings, and the absence of lawyers. The last factor, ay sagutan lang at bakawhich made the KP as a conciliatory approach or “delegalized” magkasuntukan pa. Ditorather than confrontational, was highlighted in two other papers by may disiplina”, said Luz asAssociate Justice Cecilio Pe and former DILG Director Gaudioso she explained why she wentSosmena (Villarin and Dayag-Laylo, n.d.). to the KP to file her complaint against Jose.Some studies also utilize Social Weather Station surveys on theawareness, knowledge, trust and satisfaction levels of the people on Jose, who is Luz’ cousin andthe KP. The Barangay Justice System Review undertaken by Villarin neighbor, is the respondentand Dayag-Laylo (n.d.) cites results of the SWS national surveys.Based on these surveys, there is a high level of satisfaction on the in the case. Jose’s and Luz’KP for those who have previously experienced settling dispute families share a commonthrough the KP nationwide and over time. For instance, net toilet. Jose, aghast by thesatisfaction ratings are +59 in December 1993, +57 in November smell coming from the toilet1994, +69 in April 1995 and +54 in December 1995. During the demolished the structure.1999 survey, greater satisfaction was observed among He complained that thecomplainants belonging to the poorest class compared to those other users failed to keep itfrom the higher economic classes. This particularly confirms theimportance of the system to vulnerable groups. Most of those who clean.are satisfied with the system indicated case settlement as theirprimary reason. On a later date, Luz accused Jose of stealing herIn contrast to the general public, lawyers are less satisfied with the firewood. He flared up andKP based on SWS survey results in 1995-1996. For instance, net allegedly threatened to killsatisfaction ratings from lawyers is -16 in National Capital Region, her.-23 in Pangasinan, -5 in Cebu and +12 in Davao. During the samesurvey, net satisfaction rating from judges is even lower, i.e., -53. The pangkat tagapamayapaResults of SWS surveys in subsequent years, however, showed that had to adjourn the firstnet satisfaction ratings from judges have gradually improved as hearing because the partiesshown in Table 2.1. kept on bickering. The pangkat thought it was bestTABLE 2.1 JUDGES LEVEL OF SATISFACTION WITH THE KP SYSTEM to give them time to let off some steam and encouraged 1995-1996 2003-2004 2005-2006 them to have an open line of communication in between Net Satisfaction -53 -31 -19 hearings. Satisfied 22 34 38 On the second hearing, the Not Satisfied 75 65 57 parties were already open Undecided 2 1 3 to settlement. Jose agreed to rebuild the toilet, upon the 13Source: Social Weather Station prodding of the pangkat members, who pointed out Page that he had no right to destroy property co-owned by his neighbors. He also signed an “agreement” not to threaten Luz . All’s well that ends well.
  • 15. Issues encountered in KP ImplementationThe Barangay Justice System Review conducted a series of workshops in 2000 that broughttogether barangay officials, lupon members, and representatives from NGOs, POs, DILG, DOJ andthe Supreme Court. Among the major issues identified during the workshops include: Disputants regard the KP as being merely an additional bureaucratic level for the lone purpose of securing a certification to file action. Perceived partiality on the part of the barangay captain and Lupon members. Non-appearance of respondents during hearings. Lack of funds for KP operations. Lupon and other barangay officials cannot enforce the agreements reached during the settlement. Insufficient knowledge and skills among Lupon members on the KP law and on mediation and conciliation. The issue of gender sensitivity of those administering the KP was raised during all of the workshops. 14 Page
  • 16. Chapter 3 Inside the University is a Community: KP implementation in Barangay UP Campus Situated along C.P. Garcia corner C.V. Franciso, Pook Amorsolo, Barangay UP Campus beats at the heart of the top school in the country—the University of the Philippines, Diliman in Quezon City. Thirty four (34) years since its formation, Barangay UP Campus now serves twenty-three thousand (23,000) inhabitants residing in the community’s sixteen (16) pook or areas. Of the total population, 60% belongs to the urban poor communities, 20% Barangay UP Campus was established on June 25, 1975 through EO 24 in the middle-lower families, 15% by then City Mayor Norberto Amoranto. in the middle-upper families, and the remaining 5% belongs to the community’s upper class.Lupong TagapamayapaThe punong barangay, Isabelita Gravides, appointed thirteen (13) Lupong Tagapamayamembers at the start of her term on December 1, 2007. Out of this number, nine (9) are womenand four (4) are men.The members of the Lupon were selected based on their individual qualifications as stated andmandated by the Local Government Code8. But Ms. Gravides also considered certain personaltraits in making her appointments, such as: o Ability to remain calm in stressful situations o Resourcefulness o Open-mindedness o Cooperativeness 15The average age of the current Lupon members is sixty four (64) years old. Ten (10) of themhave college degrees. It can be inferred that community standing was an important Pageconsideration in their appointments. High educational attainment is valued in Philippine8 Section 399
  • 17. Insights society. Standing also comes with age, perhaps more so than withParticipation of senior educational attainment. Moreover, being long-time residents of thecitizens in the KP barangay, the senior KP members may know most of the memberscontributes to higher of the community – a plus for a conciliator. Deputy Chairmandisposition rate, since they Patronicio Abejo also said that since most of the Lupon membershave more available time. are retirees, they have more time to deal with the KP cases,Their standing in the increasing the case disposition rate.community also contributes tothe effectiveness of the Lupon. Barangay Justice WorkMost of those served by The Lupon work starts at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 11:30 a.m. Uponthe KP are from the poor arrival, it is a protocol to review the cases to be heard on that day,and middle income which are filed in separate folders.households, which But in some instances, the Lupon agrees to hold the hearings in thehighlights the role of KP in evening so that for the convenience of the parties who have dayproviding justice to jobs. Prior notice to the Lupon is needed so that it can make thedisadvantaged groups. arrangements.NGO-Barangay On the average, the Lupon receives sixty three (63) disputes eachengagements have greatly month. The parties usually come from the middle and lowersupported the capacity income classes.building of Barangay UP’sKP. Access to the trainings Civil cases take longer to settle than criminal complaints. Civil casesprovided by the institutes consist mostly of ejectment cases and the settlement of debts, whileand centers in the UP criminal cases mostly involve physical injuries. Others concerncampus also enhanced the boundary disputes among lot owners (See Annex 1). Debt paymentability of Barangay UP to cases often drag on even after final settlement is made due to theimplement KP properly. continuous follow-up to ensure compliance with the payment schedule.9The Barangay recognizesa need to educate the Due to past incidents, the Luponcommunity about KP. This has required the presence of ais an important task since member of the BSPO during thethe effectiveness of initial confrontations betweenalternative dispute parties, noting the fact that firstresolution mechanisms meetings are usually very heateddepends on a consistent and and tense, while the parties tend tomeaningful exposure of calm down during subsequentcommunities to them hearings.(Pangalangan, 2001). There is also an officer-in-charge assigned for each hearing day, who 16 The Barangay Justice Office moves around observing each case. This is to ensure the safety of other Page opens at 8:30 a.m. and closes at 11:30 a.m. 9These observations are taken from the Villarin and Dayag-Laylo paper (n.d.), where Barangay UP was also used as case study.
  • 18. Lupon members, since violent altercations occasionally occur and there must be someone whocan act immediately to diffuse the situation.The Creation of a Strong Lupong TagapamayapaWhen she assumed office, Gravides envisioned a competent Lupong Tagapamayapa for thebarangay. To achieve this end, she implemented a three-point program with the followingcomponents: a) Creation of an effective organizational structure b) Training and development c) Integration of technology in the KP systemEffective Organizational StructureGravides organized three (3) working committees to provide support services for the KP:Monitoring TeamIts primary task is to visit the different pook or areas within the barangay to: Conduct ocular inspection of the place/area disputed Visit the complainant or respondent’s house who refuses to attend scheduled hearings Coordination with the pook coordinatorsEducation CommitteeThis committee is primarily tasked to inform andeducate the residents regarding the KP. One waythey do this is to have a ready flowchart at theBarangay Justice Office on the procedures on howa case is handled (Annex 2). Committee membersalso visit the sixteen (16) areas of Barangay UPCampus to discuss the significance of theKatarungang Pambarangay, its processes andprocedures as well as the different laws thatconcern the various disputes filed at KP.This committee also leads the KP Information andEducation Campaign Project and organizestrainings for the members of the Barangay 17Protection and Security Office, Family andCommunity Healing Center, and the Barangay Page The Barangay Justice Office is divided into threeCouncil for the Protection of Children. (3) partitions to simultaneously hear cases which are on the average eight (8) per day
  • 19. Research Committee Scrutinizes and studies the pending cases that need immediate action Checks which cases have not paid the required filing fees and reminds the parties on certain requirements to the case Assists the Barangay Secretary and the Technical Staff in the systematic maintenance and safekeeping of records, reports and other documents pertaining to KP Prepares pertinent documents for case presentations, incentives, awards, and ways to amicably settle the cases handled Partners with different organizations and groups for trainings, workshops and seminars that can help enhance the knowledge and skills of all the members of the Lupon Training and Development Attendance and participation in government-provided and NGO- organized trainings, seminars, and workshops are strongly encouraged in the members of the Lupon. The following are some of the trainings and workshops they have attended: General Assembly, Workshop and Fellowship sponsored by Councilor Malaya, July 13, 2008, Amoranto Multi- Purpose Hall, Barangay Paligsahan, Quezon City Training on Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Seminar on KP and Safety given to the Lupong Tagapamayapa and other barangay officers on September 23, 2009 Preparedness organized by the Sangguniang Barangay Training-Workshop on Effective Dispute Resolution and Mediation Processes sponsored and organized by the Sangguniang Barangay with support from Misereor-Katholische Zentralstelle Fur Entwicklungshilfe (KZE), February 27-29, 2008, Daza Hall, Barangay UP Campus, Diliman, Quezon City Enhancement Training Seminar on KP for Quezon City Lupong Tagapamayapa sponsored by City Mayor Sonny Belmonte, September 5-6, 2008, Carlos Albert Session Hall, 3rd Floor, Legislative Wing, Quezon City Hall Trainer’s Training on Effective Dispute Resolution and Mediation Processes sponsored by MedNet Seminar on RA 9262 or the Anti-VAWC Law sponsored by the UP College of Law students in partnership with Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panligal (SALIGAN), 18 September 23, 2009, Daza Hall, Barangay UP Campus, Diliman, Quezon City Page
  • 20. Integration of Technology in the KP System Making minds meet: Conciliation techniques basedKatarungang Pambarangay Electronic System on actual cases observedTo better facilitate the monitoring of KP cases, KatarungangPambarangay Electronic System (KPES) has been implemented The Lupon often ask theto help in the processing of information pertaining to various parties to consider how theircases filed. It was designed by Conrado “Jong” San Pedro, a dispute has affected theirformer Barangay Secretary during his term from 1997-2001, relationship, banking on thefor the easy facilitation or processing of cases filed through the parties’ personal histories tofollowing: convince them to reconcile. Instant printing of summons/notice of hearing The Lupon members always paraphrase the issue raised or Automatic case numbering statement made by each party in Automatic checking and corrections of conflicting order to clarify what each meant. hearing schedules This ensured that the Reporting of the statistics of cases filed at KP based on sentiments of the parties are classification of cases and the places of commission clearly communicated to all Printing of hearing schedules involved, especially crucial whenThrough this computerization project, it is now easier to parties are so impassioned thatdetermine how many cases are handled each month, the status they are unable to articulateof each case which is better facilitated by the automatic case themselves clearly.numbering and automatic classification function of KPES, and The Lupon members werethe determination of the number of cases found in each pook or able to remain calm and collectedarea. during the duration of theirManuals and Brochures respective hearings, no matter how heated the discussionsThe Lupong Tagapamayapa also created manuals of the became. They were also able todifferent KP processes and procedures. Every Lupon member minimize snide comments andtakes time to explain these to the disputants during the first hostile remarks from theface-to-face conciliation, or individually in the case of shuttle- parties, which usually aggravatemediation. The shuttle-mediation is an approach wherein the the animosity. Moreover, nopangkat conducts investigations and negotiations with parties Lupon member displayedseparately, until such time that a solution to their conflict is aggressive behavior in anyarrived at. proceeding.Brochures and primers are also distributed to each pook or When a case is settled, thearea through the BPSO and the pook coordinators (See Annex Lupon also ensured the3). The aim is to provide materials to the residents on how they agreements of the parties arecan benefit from KP. reduced in writing and carefully read to them. They check if the 19 parties fully understand the Page document, before asking the parties to sign. This practice bolsters the disputants’ confidence in the Lupon.
  • 21. Cases HandledFor the period of August 2008 to June 2009, Barangay UP Campus handled seven hundred fiftynine (759) cases. Out of the total number of cases handled during the year, only 60% weresettled. This is 19 points below the national average in 2008. This could be one reason why ithas not received a Lupong Tagapamayapa Incentive Award given by the DILG during that periodsince one of the criteria to the award is a minimum settlement rate of 80%. The contributingfactor to their low settlement rate is the dismissal of a number of cases filed before them (24%).This is mainly due to the non-appearance of the respondents in the scheduled hearing (Villarinand Dayag-Laylo, n.d.). The limited number of BPSOs in the barangay to follow up on therespondents may also contribute to their non-appearance.FIGURE 3.1: CASES FILED BEFORE THE BARANGAY UP’S KP (AUGUST 2008-JUNE 2009)Source: Own construction with primary data from Barangay UP CampusIn the cases settled, 10% were resolved through conciliation while 90% were resolved throughmediation (See Figure 3.1). It is significant to note that none of the cases was settled througharbitration.Based on the number of cases settled, it can be estimated that the government saved PhP 4.807million (see Chapter 2) if it is assumed that these cases would have been filed before the courts. 20 Page
  • 22. FIGURE 3.2 CASES FILED BEFORE BARANGAY UP’S KP BY TYPE (AUGUST 2008-JUNE 2009) 120 100 80 No. of cases 60 Others 40 Civil 20 Criminal 0 Barangay UP Campus Cases 2008-2009Source: Own construction with primary data from Barangay UP CampusAs to the nature of the cases, 76% of the total number is categorized as criminal cases, 12% ascivil while the remaining 12% as others. As pointed out previously, the civil cases take moretime to settle than the criminal cases which mostly involve physical injuries. 21 Page
  • 23. Chapter 4 Anti-VAWC Training for Barangay UP officialsOn September 23, 2009, the grouporganized a workshop on the Anti-VAWC Law10 for Barangay UP officials.This was requested by Barangay UP tocontribute to its officials’understanding of their roles andresponsibilities under this law and tothe law’s effective implementation.The group invited Atty. Bobby Sta.Maria of SALIGAN (Sentro ngAlternatibong Lingap Panligal), a legalresource, NGO doing developmental Some of Barangay UP Campus officials, Lupon members andlegal work with women, workers, health workersfarmers and fishers, the urban poor,and local communities as guest speaker. A graduate of the UP College of Law, Atty. Sta. Maria isa staff lawyer of SALIGAN’s women, local governance and urban poor programs.Among the workshop participants were barangay councilors and members of the LuponTagapamayapa, counselors and other personnel of the Family and Community Healing Center, abarangay office that provides gender-sensitive counseling, education, and training for thesurvivors of VAWC. Representatives from the Barangay Council for the Protection of Childrenand Barangay Health Workers were also invited.Lecture outlineAtty. Sta Maria lectured on the salient points of RA 9262, which included the following: Policy bases VAWC as a public crime Cases that may be filed Who may commit violence against women Forms of violence Venue for filing The battered woman syndrome Prohibited defense Program for perpetrators Entitlement to leave Other features 22 Page10 RA 9262 (2004).
  • 24. A detailed lecture on the Barangay Protection Order followed. The topics covered were: What is a Barangay Protection Order? Where should the application for a BPO be filed? When should the application for a BPO be processed and issued? Who may file a BPO application? How is an application for BPO filed? What is the effectivity and enforceability of a BPO? What else must the barangay do after issuing the BPO? What happens when there is a violation of the BPO? Attorney Sta. Maria of SALIGAN discussing the Anti- VAWC lawVAWC is a public crimeAtty. Sta. Maria stressed that VAWC is not only an offense against the wife or the victim, but alsoagainst the public. Hence, a complaint may be filed by ANY CITIZEN having personal knowledgeof the circumstances surrounding its commission. This is allowed even absent the consent of thevictim.One of the attendees noted that even if violence against women and their children is designatedas a public offense, barangay officials often find it difficult to file a case without the consent ofthe victim or survivor. According to them, it is not uncommon for the sympathy of a victimtowards her abuser to prevail causing the victim to abandon her complaint.Admittedly, proving the offense becomes difficult, without the consent and the participation ofthe victim. In such case, Atty. Sta. Maria said that the personal knowledge of the complainantwould have to be relied on; i.e., what the officials have personally heard and seen.Dropped casesAtty. Sta. Maria also explained that thereare countless factors why women often getdisheartened in pursuing their cases.Economic factors and regard for traditionalFilipino values, such as “keeping the familytogether” and “sanctity of marriage”, come 23into play. PageShe advised the officials to empathize withthese women, instead of gettingexasperated. She also emphasized the Barangay official recounting stories and experiences onneed to strengthen the support services for cases under RA 9262(Anti-VAWC)
  • 25. these victims, as these strengthen their will to fight for their rights.Limited Knowledge on VAWCA frustrating problem for VAWC implementation is the limited knowledge of prosecutors on theAnti-VAWC Law. They, at times, dismiss the case when filed by a person other than the victim.Atty. Sta. Maria explained that her group’s usual recourse is to file a motion for reconsiderationwith the Justice Department.It is also common for RTC judges to fail to issue the temporary protection orders (TPO), even ifit is mandated by law. But there are exceptional RTCs such as one in Quezon City, which alreadypractice the issuance of “continuing TPO’s”, by ordering the automatic renewal of the 30-dayTPO until a permanent protection order is given by the court.Progressive JurisprudenceAccording to the speaker, the limited knowledge of our court officers regarding the Anti-VAWCLaw may be explained by the fact that RA 9262 is a fairly recent law and there is limitedjurisprudence on it. Hence, advocates must keep litigating VAWC cases to enrich jurisprudencefavorable to women and their children’s protection. She encouraged the barangay officials notgive up and appeal the adverse rulings of courts. One result of such legal advocacy is ourjurisprudence recognizing the battered women syndrome.Incidentally, one of the participants asked how they can prove the existence of the batteredwoman syndrome. The speaker explained that this can be proved by expert opinion frompsychologists. There are psychologists whom they can turn to for expert testimonies and whooffer their services free of charge.Conciliation in VAWC casesThe barangay officials said that they understand the prohibition against conciliation andmediation in VAWC cases. But they complained that the police oftentimes do not follow this rule.It is a usual practice for barangay officials to immediately accompany a victim of abuse to thepolice station to file a report. However, therewere instances when police officers themselvesactively asked the parties to reconcile ratherthan work to file a complaint with theProsecutor’s Office.Atty. Sta. Maria said that administrative casescan be filed against these officers. She furthersuggested that the barangay officials proceedwith filing the complaint, even without theassistance of police officers. 24 Page
  • 26. Barangay Protection Orders (BPO)While the barangay officials are familiar with the process of issuing BPOs, they are oftenstumped when faced with a violation thereof.Atty. Sta. Maria underscored the fact that a BPO violation is punishable by an imprisonment of30 days, without prejudice to other criminal or civil liabilities. She encouraged the barangayofficials to file cases before the Metropolitan Trial Courts as a remedy to such violations.Another limitation of the BPO is that it is only effective within the barangay, which issued it.The speaker highlighted the barangay’s duty to assist the victim in filing a VAWC case with aFamily Court within 24 hours from the issuance of the BPO. Through the court case, the victimcan secure a TPO11, which is issued ex parte and enforceable anywhere in the Philippines. Ifprior to such issuance, the victim transfers residence, she can also secure a BPO from her newbarangay. Atty. Sta. Maria advised the barangay officials to assist the victim financially, when economic factors prevent the victim from filing her case in court, that is, if the barangay has the resources. She stressed that the implementation of this law calls for the participation and the help of all the members of the community.Some observationsThe understanding of the barangay officials of the Anti-VAWC law and their roles was notable.The barangay benefitted from its engagements with NGOs, which provided capacity-building forits officials. This government-NGO interaction can serve as a model for other barangays.National government agencies should assist in forming such linkages and provide resources toallow these partnerships to grow.It is also noteworthy that they continue to help victims, who have been abused repeatedly butkept pardoning their abusers. Officials should never stop rendering aid even when the victimsfail to cooperate or waver in pursuing their cases. Rather, they should try to understand thedifferent reasons behind such indecisiveness and help address them.The officials also shared some interesting strategies in keeping a victim’s resolve to file a case 25against her abuser. For instance, they work to put the abuser in detention; thereby limiting Page11The TPO is issued by a court where a VAWC case is filed. It is issued ex parte and effective for thirtydays. Some courts have used the so-called “continuing TPOs”, an order allowing the automatic renewal ofthe TPO after the expiration of the 30 days, until a permanent protection order is issued at the conclusionof the trial.
  • 27. contact between him and the victim. They also discourage the victim from visiting the abuser injail to prevent the latter from exploiting the former’s sympathy and discouraging her frompursuing the case. They keep to this plan until a case has already been filed and the neededaffidavits have all been given. At the end of the training, the research group gave Barangay UP Campus a CD-copy of Payong Kapatid, a video presentation of Professor Rowena Guanzon on the Anti-VAWC law as broadcasted in ABS-CBN in March 2006 to serve as a ready reference of the Lupon in handling its VAWC cases. Tokens given to the barangay for accommodating our research project 26 Page
  • 28. BibliographyBarangay UP Campus. (2009). Executive Summary of Accomplishments. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Diliman.Department of Interior and Local Government – Bureau of Local Government Supervision. (2009). National summary report on Katarungang Pambarangay. Manila: DILG.Department of Interior and Local Government – Bureau of Local Government Supervision. (2009). Lupong Tagapamayapa Incentives Awards CY 2008 annual report. Manila: DILG.Gerry Roxas Foundation. (2006). Impact assessment of Barangay Justice Service System V - Dalan sa Kalinaw Mindanaw. Manila: USAID.Golub, Stephen.(2003). Non-state justice systems in Bangladesh and the Philippines. London: UK Department of International Development.Pangalangan, Raul (Ed.). (2001). The Philippine judicial system. Tokyo: Institute of Development Economics.Redshaw, Felipe Ureta, et. al. (2007). Baseline study report for the Access to Justice for the Poor Project. Manila: European Commission.Supreme Court of the Philippines. (2009). Annual report 2008. Manila: Supreme Court.Villarin, Tomasito and Carijane Dayag-Laylo. (n.d.). The barangay justice system review. Manila: The Asia Foundation et al.Wojkowska, Ewa. (2006). Doing justice: How informal justice can contribute. Oslo: UNDP. 27 Page