Is there a difference between the Lupong Tagapamayapa and the Pangkat ng Tagapagkasundo?
Yes. The Lupong Tagapamayapa is composed of the Punong Barangay as lupon chairman and ten (10) to twenty (20) members who are residents of the barangay in good standing appointed by the Lupon Chairman. The barangay secretary shall concurrently serve as lupon secretary.
Meanwhile, the Pangkat ng Tagapagkasundo is composed of three members chosen from the list of Lupon members. The Pangkat is constituted for a particular case and are chosen by the parties themselves. If they cannot agree as to who will constitute the Pangkat, the members will be chosen by lots drawn by the Lupon Chairman. After being constituted, the Pangkat shall elect from among themselves, the Pangkat Chairman and Secretary. It should be noted that this time, the Pangkat Secretary is not necessarily the Barangay Secretary.
May an agent, representative, or lawyer appear on my behalf in the proceedings?
No. The parties must appear in person and without the assistance of counsel or representative, except for minors or incompetents who may be assisted by their next of kin who are not lawyers.
Where the case for barangay settlement may be filed?
a) Disputes involving residents of the same barangay shall be filed in said barangay;
b) Residents of different barangays within the same city/municipality – in the barangay where the respondents or any of the respondents resides that the instance of the complainant
c) Disputes involving real property or any interest therein – in the barangay where the property or the larger portion thereof is located
d) Disputes arising at the workplace between co-workers or schools where parties are enrolled – in the barangay where such workplace or school/institution is located
What is the procedure for settlement of cases falling under the barangay settlement system?
Any party who has a complaint or cause of action against another individual involving a matter within the authority of the Lupon may complain orally or in writing to the Barangay Chairman. The complaining party should also pay the appropriate filing fee. Upon receipt of the complaint, the Barangay Chairman shall within the next working day summon the respondents with notice to the complainants for them to appear before him for a mediation of their conflicting interests. If meditation fails, within 15 days from the first meeting, the Pangkat should be constituted.
Within three days from its formation, the Pangkat shall convene to hear both parties and their witnesses, simplify issues, and explore all possibilities of amicable settlement. The pangkat should arrive at a settlement of the dispute within 15 days from the day it convenes. This period is extendible for another 15 days in meritorious cases, at the discretion of the pangkat.
What is the form of the settlement?
All amicable settlement should be in writing, in a language or dialect known to the parties, signed by them, and attested to by the lupon chairman as the case may be.
Can a party repudiate the settlement?
Yes. A party to the dispute may within ten days from the date of settlement, repudiate the same by filing with the Lupon chairman a statement to that effect sworn to before him, where the consent is vitiated by fraud, violence, or intimidation.
What happens if the parties fail to arrive at an amicable settlement or one of the parties repudiates the settlement?
A certificate to file the action in court may be issued by the Lupon or Pangkat Secretary duly attested to by the Lupon or Pangkat Chairman as the case may be. (Donna Amethyst Bernardo, Contributor)