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WHAT IS BJS?

What is Barangay Justice System?

THE Katarungang Pambarangay or Barangay Justice System is a community-based dispute settlement mechanism administered by the barangay. It covers disputes between members of the same community (generally, same city/municipality) and involves the Punong Barangay and other members of the communities (the Lupon members) as intermediaries (mediators, conciliators, and, sometimes, arbitrators).

The Barangay Justice System is designed primarily based on the Filipino values of pakikisama (cooperation, comradeship) and pakikipag-kapwa (sympathy), virtues which help maintain smooth interpersonal relationships and preserve peace and harmony within the family and the people in the community.

Moreover, because of its reach to the grassroots level, the barangay is most effective in ensuring that peace though justice is achieved.

Because of this, the barangays are given mandate to help in the administration of justice:

1.  Conduct conciliation proceedings in civil cases and in criminal cases where penalty is less than 1 year imprisonment or fine of less than P5000, before the same can be filed at court.

2. Punong Barangays are granted power to issue Barangay Protection Order (BPO) under Section 14 of RA 9262 (Anti- VAWC Law)

3. Establishment of Barangay Council or the Protection of Children under RA 9344

4. Create Barangay Agrarian Reform Committee under Section 46 of RA 6657 tasked to mediate and conciliate parties involved in an agrarian disputes (i.e. tenurial and financial arrangements)

 

Discussions: 

1. Conduct conciliation proceedings in civil cases and in criminal cases where penalty is less than 1 year imprisonment or fine of less than P5000, before the same can be filed at court.

The Barangay Justice System does not decide disputes nor does it impose solutions on the parties. Rather, it assists parties in discussing amicable settlement of their disputes. The Punong Barangay or Lupon members act as facilitators for the parties’ discussion. They do not act as judges/jury or adjudicators. The barangay Justice System is not a trial court.

The conciliation proceedings is likewise a pre-condition before one could file a case in the Prosecutor’s Office or in Court (SC Administrative Circular No. 14-93). This rule is required in all civil actions, while for criminal actions, only those whose prescribed penalty exceed one year of imprisonment or a fine exceeding P5,000.00.

The Local Government Code of 1991 provides:

Section 412. Conciliation. -

(a) Pre-condition to Filing of Complaint in Court. – No complaint, petition, action, or proceeding involving any matter within the authority of the lupon shall be filed or instituted directly in court or any other government office for adjudication, unless there has been a confrontation between the parties before the lupon chairman or the pangkat, and that no conciliation or settlement has been reached as certified by the lupon secretary or pangkat secretary as attested to by the lupon or pangkat chairman x x x”

General Rules:

Generally, all disputes where parties are from same city or municipality, or different city/municipality but of adjoining barangays, are within the competence of their respective Barangay Lupon.

However, there are exceptions to the rule, and these are:

(a) Where one party is the government, or any subdivision or instrumentality thereof;

(b) Where one party is a public officer or employee, and the dispute relates to the performance of his official functions;

(c) Offenses punishable by imprisonment exceeding one (1) year or a fine exceeding Five thousand pesos (P5,000.00);

(d) Offenses where there is no private offended party;

(e) Where the dispute involves real properties located in different cities or municipalities unless the parties thereto agree to submit their differences to amicable settlement by an appropriate lupon;

(f) Disputes involving parties who actually reside in barangays of different cities or municipalities, except where such barangay units adjoin each other and the parties thereto agree to submit their differences to amicable settlement by an appropriate lupon;

(g) Such other classes of disputes which the President may determine in the interest of Justice or upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Justice.

NEXT: Punong Barangays are granted power to issue Barangay Protection Order (BPO) under Section 14 of RA 9262 (Anti- VAWC Law)

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