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Alternative Dispute Resolution Case Digests

Case 11 Bonifacio Law Office v. Bellosillo

Complainant R filed charged Judge B with ignorance of the law, grave abuse of discretion
and obvious partiality in connection with a case for ejectment. Complainant R assailed the
order issued by Judge B, remanding the case back to the barangay for conciliation, the fact
that it was alleged in the verified complaint that the matterhad already been referred to the
barangay and that a copy of the Certification to File Motion was attached to the verified
complaint. The complaint before the barangay was dated February 16, 1996. Records show
that the hearing was scheduled for February 26, 1996 and was reset for February 29, 1996.
And yet, the Certification to File Action was issued on March 1, 1996, less than fifteen days
after the first scheduled hearing before the barangay chairman. Judge B contended that the
Pangkat was not constituted, and that no face to face conciliation of the parties had taken
place before it is substantiated by the Minutes submitted by complainant.

Is Judge B correct in remanding the case back to the barangay?

Answer:

Section 410 (b) of the Local Government Code is quoted hereunder:

"Mediation by lupon chairman. Upon receipt of the complaint, the lupon


chairman shall within the next working day summon the respondent(s), with notice
to the complainant(s) for them and their witnesses to appear before him for a
mediation of their conflicting interests. If he fails in his mediation effort within
fifteen (15) days from the first meeting of the parties before him, he shall forthwith
set a date for the constitution of the pangkat in accordance with the provisions of
this Chapter."

Evidently, the barangay failed to exert enough effort required by law to conciliate between
the parties and to settle the case before it. Hence, respondent judge was not incorrect in
remanding the case to it for completion of the mandated proceedings. We cannot fault
him for seeking to promote the objectives of barangay conciliation and for taking to heart
the provisions of Supreme Court Circular No. 14-93 which states:

"IV. A case filed in court without compliance with prior Barangay conciliation which
is a pre-condition for formal adjudication . . . may be dismissed upon motion of the
defendant/s . . . or the court may suspend proceedings upon petition of any party . . .
and refer the case motu proprio to the appropriate Barangay authority. . . . ."

His referral of the case back to the barangay cannot be equated with gross ignorance of the
law. Neither does it constitute grave abuse of discretion or obvious partiality.
Case # 12Zamora v. Izquierdo

Zamora a lessee of an apartment, applied for installation of water works however she
needed the consent of the lessor in order to successfully apply. The lessor, Punzalan refused
to give consent since Zamora has refused to pay a new rental rate that was imposed several
months back and has repeatedly violated the restrictions on the use of the apartment.
Because of this, Zamora filed a case before the barangay and conciliation was conducted 9
times without any success. Punzalan then filed a civil case for unlawful detainer, while
Zamora filed a motion to dismiss the case contending that the pangkat was not constituted
hence the case before the MTC will not prosper banking on Sec. 412 of RA 7160. Is Zamora
correct?

Answer:

Section 412(a) of R.A. No. 7160, quoted earlier, clearly provides that, as a precondition to
filing a complaint in court, the parties shall go through the conciliation process either before
the Lupon Chairman (as what happened in the present case), or the Pangkat.

Moreover, in Diu vs. Court of Appeals, we held that "notwithstanding the mandate in
Section 410(b) of R.A. No. 7160 that the Barangay Chairman shall constitute a Pangkat if he
fails in his mediation efforts," the same "Section 410(b) should be construed together with
Section 412(a) of the same law (quoted earlier), as well as the circumstances obtaining in
and peculiar to the case."

Here, while the Pangkat was not constituted, however, the parties met nine (9) times at the
Office of the Barangay Chairman for conciliation wherein not only the issue of water
installation was discussed but also petitioners' violation of the lease contract. It is thus
manifest that there was substantial compliance with the law which does not require strict
adherence thereto.