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Justice at the barangay level

KP is a measure for dispute resolution installed at the Barangay level under Presidential Decree 1508

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Before preparing to file a case in court or the concerned government office, a prospective complainant must first determine whether their dispute falls under the jurisdiction of the Katarungang Pambarangay Conciliation Procedure (KP).

What is the KP? KP is a measure for dispute resolution installed at the Barangay level under Presidential Decree 1508. Its effect and reach was substantiated with the effectivity of Republic Act (R.A.) 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991 (LGC).

It was installed to provide a venue for amicable settlement between disputing parties who are living in the same barangay or who are living in different barangays but within the same city or municipality.

By using this measure, a party can bring their grievances before an independent party, who will invite the person complained of and provide an opportunity for them to talk and be reconciled before proceeding to file a case in court. Along the way, relieving the courts of docket congestion and allowing court to enhance the quality of justice dispensed by them.

Three actors work within the KP Process: The Lupong Tagapamayapa (or the Peace-Making Council), the Pangkat ng Tagapagsundo (or the Conciliation Panel), and the Legal Advisers.

To what kind of disputes is the KP process available? Under the LGC, the Lupon of each barangay shall have the authority to bring together the parties actually residing in the same city or municipality for amicable settlement of ALL disputes, whether civil or criminal except in the following instances: 1.) when one party is the government; 2.) when one party is a public officer and the dispute relates to the performance of his official functions; 3.) when the dispute involves real properties located in different cities and municipalities unless the parties agree to submit their differences to the Lupon; 4.) complaint by or against corporations, partnerships or juridical entities; 5.) when the dispute involves parties who actually reside in barangays of different cities or municipalities unless such barangay units adjoin each other and the parties thereto agree to submit their differences to amicable settlement by an appropriate Lupon;

6.) offenses in which the maximum penalty prescribed by law is imprisonment of more than one year or a fine of over P5,000.00; 7.) offenses where there is no private offended party; 8.)

disputes where urgent legal action is necessary to prevent injustice; 9.) disputes arising from the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law; 10.) labor disputes arising from employer-employee relationship; 11.) actions to annul judgment upon a compromise which may be filed directly in court; and 12.) those disputes determined by the President to be beyond the reach of the Barangay.

The KP procedure is initiated by the bringing of a written or oral complaint, within the authority of the Lupon, to the Lupon chairman of the barangay.

Upon receipt of the complaint, the Lupon chairman shall summon the person(s) subject of the complaint with notice to the complainant(s) for them and their witnesses to appear before him for a mediation of their conflict.

If mediation does not prove effective within 15 days from the first meeting of the parties, the Lupon chairman shall call for the constitution of the Pangkat ng Tagapagsundo (Pangkat) or the conciliation panel.

The Pangkat, under the law, is given an extendible period of 15 days to arrive at a settlement. To do so, they are tasked to hear both parties and their witnesses, simplify issues, and explore all possibilities for amicable settlement.

The Pangkat is given the power to issue summons for the personal appearance of the parties and their witnesses.

Should the parties arrive at an amicable settlement, the same shall be in writing and shall have the force and effect of a final judgment of a court upon the expiration of 10 days from the date thereof, unless one party repudiates the settlement or files a petition to nullify the award before the proper courts.

If the parties do not arrive at an amicable settlement, the Lupon shall proceed to issue a Certificate to File Action (CFA) in court or any government office. This CFA is a pre-condition for formal adjudication, without which the filing of a case in court is at risk of being dismissed.

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