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Katarungang Pambarangay contradistinction to the limitation imposed upon the Lupon

by paragraph (3), section 2 thereof as regards its authority


MORATA vs GO over criminal cases. In fact, in defining the Lupon’s authority,
Section 2 of said law employed the universal and
FACTS: comprehensive term "all", to which usage. We should neither
 October 5, 1982: SPS. Victor and Flora Go add nor subtract in consonance with the rudimentary precept in
- Filed a case against Petitioners, Julius Morata and Ma. statutory construction that "where the law does not distinguish,
Luisa Morata for Sum of Money plus Damages We should not distinguish."
amounting to PhP 49, 400 at CFI Cebu
 Petitioners: Motion to Dismiss By compelling the disputants to settle their differences through the
- On the basis of the allegation in the complaint that the intervention of the barangay leader and other respected members
parties-litigants are all residents of Cebu Cityciting as of the barangay, the animosity generated by protracted court
grounds therefor, the failure of the complaint to allege litigations between members of the same political unit, a disruptive
prior availment by the plaintiffs of the barangay factor toward unity and cooperation, is avoided. It must be borne
conciliation process required by P.D. 1508, as well as the in mind that the conciliation process at the barangay level is
absence of a certification by the Lupon or Pangkat likewise designed to discourage indiscriminate filing of cases in
Secretary that no conciliation or settlement had been court in order to decongest its clogged dockets and, in the
reached by the parties. process, enhance the quality of justice dispensed by it. Thus, to
- The motion was opposed by private respondents. say that the authority of the Lupon is limited to cases exclusively
 Respondent Judge Valeriano Tumol: denied the MTD cognizable by the inferior courts is to lose sight of this objective.
 MR: denied Worse, it would make the law a self-defeating one. For what would
 SC: by reason of MTDs denial stop a party, say in an action for a sum of money or damages, as
- Resolution dated Dec. 2, 1982: SC required in the instant case, from bloating up his claim in order to place his
respondents to file an Answer, and likewise granted a case beyond the jurisdiction of the inferior court and thereby avoid
temporary restraining order enjoining respondent judge the mandatory requirement of P.D. 1508? And why, indeed,
from requiring petitioners to file their answer and enter should the law seek to ease the congestion of dockets only in
into trial in Civil Case No. R-22154. inferior courts and not in the regional trial courts where the log-
jam of cases is much more serious? Indeed, the lawmakers could
ISSUES: not have intended such half-measure and self-defeating
1. W/N a conciliation proceeding under PD 1508 is also a legislation.ch
pre-requisite in filing a case in court for cases falling
under the RTC? There can be no question that when the law conferred upon the
Lupon "the authority to bring together the parties actually residing
HELD: YES in the same city or municipality for amicable settlement of all
disputes, . . .," its obvious intendment was to grant to the Lupon
"SECTION 6. Conciliation, pre-condition to filing of as broad and comprehensive an authority as possible as would
complaint. — No complaint, petition, action for bring about the optimum realization of the aforesaid objectives.
proceeding involving any matter within the authority of the These objectives would only be half-met and easily thwarted if the
Lupon as provided in Section 2 hereof shall be filed or Lupon’s authority is exercised only in cases falling within the
instituted in court or any other government office for exclusive jurisdiction of inferior courts.
adjudication unless there has been a confrontation of the
parties before the Lupon Chairman or the Pangkat and no
conciliation or settlement has been reached as certified by Any doubt on the issue before Us should be dispelled by Circular
the Lupon Secretary or the Pangkat Secretary attested by No. 22 issued by Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando, embodying
the Lupon or Pangkat Chairman, or unless the settlement the directive "to desist from receiving complaints, petitions,
has been repudiated. However, the parties may go directly actions and proceedings in cases falling within the authority of
to court in the following cases:chanrob1es virtual 1aw said Lupons," has been addressed not only to judges of city and
library municipal courts, but also to all the judges of the courts of first
[1] Where the accused is under detention; instance, circuit criminal courts, juvenile and domestic courts and
[2] Where a person has otherwise been deprived of courts of agrarian relations, now known as regional trial courts
personal liberty calling for habeas corpus proceedings; under B.P. No. 129. The said circular was noted by president
[3] Actions coupled with provisional remedies such as Ferdinand E. Marcos in a Letter of Implementation, dated
preliminary injunction, attachment, delivery of personal November 12, 1979, the first paragraph of which reads as follows:
property and support pendente lite; and "with the view to easing up the log-jam of cases and solving the
[4] Where the action may otherwise be barred by the backlogs in the case of dockets of all government offices involved
Statute of Limitations." library in the investigation, trial and adjudication of cases, it is hereby
ordered that immediate implementation be made by all
SECTION 2. Subject matters for amicable settlement. government officials and offices concerned of the system of
— The Lupon of each barangay shall have authority to amicably settling disputes at the barangay level as provided for in
bring together the parties actually residing in the same city the Katarungang Pambarangay Law [Presidential Decree No.
or municipality for amicable settlement of all disputes 1508]." virtua1aw library
except:
j Therefore, for the guidance of the bench and the bar, We now
" [1] Where one party is the government, or any declare that the conciliation process at the barangay level,
subdivision or instrumentality thereof; prescribed by P.D. 1508 as a pre-condition for filing a complaint
" [2] Where one party is a public officer or employee, and in court, is compulsory not only for cases falling under the
the dispute relates to the performance of his official exclusive competent of the metropolitan and municipal trial courts,
functions; but for actions cognizable by the regional trial courts as well.
" [3] Offenses punishable by imprisonment exceeding 30
days, or a fine exceeding P200.00;
" [4] Offenses where there is no private offended
party:jgchanrobles.com.ph
" [5] Such other classes of disputes which the Prime
Minister may in the interest of justice determine upon
recommendation of the Minister of Justice and the
Minister of Local Government."cralaw virtua1aw library

Thus, except in the instances enumerated in sections 2


and 6 of the law, the Lupon has the authority to settle amicably all
types of disputes involving parties who actually reside in the same
city or municipality. The law, as written, makes no distinction
whatsoever with respect to the classes of civil disputes that
should be compromised at the barangay level, in
UY vs CONTRERAS law does not apply when the action, as in the said cases, may
otherwise be barred by the statute of limitations; and (c) even
FACTS: assuming that the law applies insofar as Atayde is concerned, she
 Felicidad Uy: subleased from Susana Atayde the other half has substantially complied with it.
of the 2nd floor of the a building located at corner Reposo and
Oliman Streets, Makati The Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Rizal should have
- She operated a beauty parlor exerted enough diligence to inquire from the private respondents
- Sublease Contract: expired on April 15, 1993 if prior referral to the lupon was necessary before filing the
o However, she was not able to remove all her informations.
movable properties
Respondent judge did not do any better. His total
 April 17, 1993: An argument arose between Uy and Atayde unawareness of the Local Government Code of 1991, more
when the former sought to withdraw from the subleased specifically on the provisions on the katarungang
premises her remaining movable properties such as cabinets, pambarangay, is distressing. He should have taken judicial
shelves, frames, a mirror, a shampoo bowl, and an notice thereof, ever mindful that under Section 1, Rule 129 of
airconditioning casing the Rules of Court, courts are mandatorily required to take
- Resulted to a scuffle between Uy and Atayde, and judicial notice of "the official acts of the legislative, executive
several of Atayde’s employees, including Winnie Javier and judicial departments of the Philippines." We have ruled
(Private respondent) that a judge is called upon to exhibit more than just a cursory
 April 21, 1993: Private Respondents have themselves acquaintance with the statutes and procedural rules. [21] He
medically examines for alleged injuries inflicted by Uy should have applied the revised katarungang
 April 23, 1993: Private Respondents filed a Complaint with pambarangay law under the Local Government Code of 1991.
the Barangay Captain of Valenzuela, Makati Had he done so, this petition would not have reached us and
 April 28, 1993: Confrontation Schedule taken valuable attention and time which could have been
- Only Uy appeared devoted to more important cases.
- Reset on May 26, 1993
 May 11, 1993: Office of the Prov. Prosec of Rizal filed 2 In view of the private respondents' failure to appear at the
Informations for Slight Physical Injuries against Uy with MTC first scheduled mediation on 28 April 1993 for which the
Makati, Br. 61 mediation was reset to 26 May 1993, no complaint for slight
 May 21, 1993: Judge Maximo Contreras ordered Uy to physical injuries could be validly filed with the MTC of Makati
submit her Counter-Aff at any time before such date. The filing then of Criminal
 Uy’s CounterAffidavit: Cases Nos. 145233 and 145234 with the said court on 11 May
1. Petitioner specifically alleged the prematurity of the filing 1993 was premature and, pursuant to paragraph (a), Section
of the criminal cases for failure to undergo conciliation 412 of the Local Government Code, respondent Judge
proceedings as she and the private respondents are Contreras should have granted the motion to dismiss the
residents of Manila criminal cases. He cannot justify its denial by taking refuge
2. She also attached to it a certification by the barangay under Section 6 of P.D. No. 1508 (more properly, Section
captain of Valenzuela, Makati, dated 18 May 1993, that 412(b)(4) of the Local Government Code of 1991) which states
there was an ongoing conciliation between Atayde and that the parties may go directly to court where the action is
the petitioner in Barangay Case No. 1023 about to prescribe. This is because, as earlier stated,
 Uy: filed a Motion to Dismiss for non-compliance with the pursuant to paragraph (c), Section 410 of the Code, the
requirement of P.D. No. 1508 on prior referral to the Lupong prescriptive period was automatically suspended for a
Tagapamayapa and pursuant to Section 18 of the 1991 maximum period of sixty days from 23 April 1993 when the
Revised Rule on Summary Procedure, as a ground private respondents filed their complaints with the lupon of
 MTC Judge: denied MTD Valenzuela, Makati.
 MR: denied Moreover, having brought the dispute before the lupon of
 SC: Certiorari barangay Valenzuela, Makati, the private respondents are
estopped from disavowing the authority of the body which they
ISSUE: W/N respondent judge committed grave abuse of themselves had sought. Their act of trifling with the authority of
discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction when he denied the the lupon by unjustifiably failing to attend the scheduled mediation
motion to dismiss considering that the private respondents failed hearings and instead filing the complaint right away with the trial
to comply with the mandatory requirement of P.D. No. 1508, now court cannot be countenanced for to do so would wreak havoc on
embodied in Section 412 of the Local Government Code of 1991 the barangay conciliation system.
and further required under the 1991 Revised Rule on Summary
Procedure. Granting arguendo that the petitioner did inflict the alleged
physical injuries, the offense for which she may be liable would
HELD: YES only be slight physical injuries under paragraph (2), Article 266 of
the Revised Penal Code, considering that per the medical
The law on the katarungang pambarangay was originally certificates[22] the injuries sustained by the private respondents
governed by P.D. No. 1508 which was enacted on 11 June 1978. would "heal" in nine days "in the absence of complication" and
However, the Local Government Code of 1991, specifically there is no showing that the said injuries incapacitated them for
Chapter 7, Title I, Book III thereof,[13] revised the law on labor or would require medical attendance for such period. The
the katarungang pambarangay. As a consequence of this penalty therefor would only be "arresto menor or a fine not
revision, P.D. No. 1508 was expressly repealed pursuant to exceeding 200 pesos and censure." These penalties
Section 534(b) of the Code. are light under Article 25 of the Revised Penal Code and would
prescribe in two months pursuant to Article 90.
In the proceedings before the court a quo, the petitioner and the
respondents had in mind only P.D. No. 1508. The petitioner further Accordingly, since the slight physical injuries charged in Criminal
invoked the aforequoted Section 18. None knew of the repeal of Cases Nos. 145233 and 145234 were allegedly inflicted on 17
the decree by the Local Government Code of 1991. Even in her April 1993, the prescriptive period therefor would have expired two
instant petition, the petitioner invokes the decree and Section 18 months thereafter. Nevertheless, its running was tolled by the
of the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure. However, the private filing of the private respondents' complaints with the lupon of
respondents, realizing the weakness of their position under P.D. Valenzuela, Makati, on 23 April 1993 and automatically
No. 1508 since they did refer their grievances to what might suspended for a period of sixty days, or until 22 June 1993. If no
be a wrong forum under the decree, changed tack. In their mediation or conciliation could be reached within the said period
Comment, they assert that on 20 April 1993 Atayde "filed a of suspension and, accordingly, a certification to file action is
complaint against petitioner before the barangay council of issued, the private respondents would still have fifty-six days
BarangayValenzuela,Makati, in compliance with the requirement within which to file their separate criminal complaints for such
s of theKatarungang Pambarangay Law under the Local Govern offense. Evidently, there was no basis for the invocation by the
ment Code."[20] Yet, in a deliberate effort to be cunning or shrewd, respondent judge of the exception provided for in paragraph (b),
which is condemnable for it disregards the virtue of candor, they Section 412 of the Local Government Code.
assert that the said law is not applicable to their cases before the
court a quo because (a) the petitioner and respondent Atayde are Neither are we persuaded by the reasoning of the respondent
not residents of barangays in the same city or municipality; (b) the Judge that the petitioner "had already waived the right to a
reconciliation proceedings before the barangay of Valenzuela, Title One, Book III, R.A. 7160, otherwise
Makati, considering that the accused and the complainant known as the Local Government Code of
are residents of different barangays." The petitioner did not waive 1991 (The Revised Katarungang
the reconciliation proceedings before the lupon of Valenzuela, Pambarangay Law), offenses punishable
Makati; she submitted to it and attended the by imprisonment not exceeding one (1)
scheduledconciliation on 28 April 1993 and invoked the pre- year or a fine not exceeding Five Thousand
condition of referral to the lupon in her counter-affidavit.[23] Pesos (P5,000.00) require prior barangay
conciliation. The crime of grave threats
Nor would this Court accept the contention of the private punishable under Art. 282 of the Revised
respondents that the parties could not agree on a compromise and Penal Code falls within the (p)urview of that
that they had to request the barangay captain to issue a section.
certification to file action.[24] The request is  Had respondent Judge observed the
dated 23 June 1993,[25] or nearly one and a half months after mandate of the aforequoted provision of
Criminal Cases Nos. 145233 and 145234 were filed with the law he could have remanded the case to
court a quo. Evidently, this was done to support their contention in the lupon instead of taking cognizance
the said court that, in any event, there was substantial compliance thereof and prematurely issuing the
with the requirement of referral to thelupon. It must be stressed warrant of arrest against the accused.
that the private respondents, after failing to appear at the initial  Administrative Sanction: was imposed against Judge Mejia
confrontation and long after the criminal cases were filed, had no
right to demand the issuance of a certification to file action. ISSUES:
1. W/N Judge Mejia is liable for incompetence and
The respondent judge thus acted with grave abuse of discretion
ignorance of the law for taking cognizance of the
in refusing to dismiss Criminal Cases Nos. 145233 and 145234.
case for Grave Threats despite the legal obstacles
Before closing these cases, this Court wishes to emphasize the thereto?
vital role which the revised katarungang pambarangay law plays
in the delivery of justice at the barangay level, in promoting peace, HELD: YES
stability, and progress therein, and in effectively preventing or
reducing expensive and wearisome litigation. Parties to disputes Although there is no clear proof of malice, bad faith, bias or
cognizable by thelupon should, with sincerity, exhaust the partiality on his part, respondent judge should have exercised the
remedies provided by that law, government prosecutors should requisite prudence, especially under the environmental
exercise due diligence in ascertaining compliance with it, and trial circumstances of the aforesaid criminal case where personal
courts should not hesitate to impose the appropriate sanctions for liberty was involved. He should have carefully examined all
non-compliance thereof. relevant facts and issues and avoided the improvident issuance of
the warrant of arrest without a circumspect review of the case
which, after all, did not exhibit abstruse factual matters or
WINGARTS vs MEJIA complicated legal questions. The present controversy could have
been avoided had he kept faith with the injunction that a member
FACTS: of the bench must continuously keep himself abreast of legal and
 Johan L.H Wingarts and Ofelia Wingarts: jointly filed 3 jurisprudential developments because the learning process in law
letter complaints against Judge Servillano Mejia of MTC Sta. never ceases.
Maria, Bulacan
- These complaints were offshoot of the 3 criminal cases
decided by Judge Mejia involving Wingarts and Col. In the present case, assuming that he did not act with malice or
Rodulfo Munar bad faith and that he subsequently issued an order to recall the
a. Malicious Mischief and Grave Threats: warrant or prevent the arrest of complainant, such considerations
Wingarts was the accused for both cases can mitigate but will not altogether exculpate him from the charge
b. Usurpation of Authority: Countercharge of of incompetence and ignorance of the law, which accordingly
Wingarts warrants the imposition of an appropriate penalty on him. If judges
 1ST Administrative Complaint (relative to Malicious wantonly misuse the powers vested in them by law, there will not
Mischief) only be confusion in the administration of justice but even
1. Judge was charged with Malicious Delay in the oppressive disregard of the basic requirements of due process.
administration of justice.
2. The case allegedly dragged for one year and four months Moreover, judges are directed to desist from improvidently
in respondent's sala and was ultimately dismissed in a receiving and desultorily acting on complaints, petitions,
decision dated June 8, 1994. actions or proceedings in cases falling within the authority of
 2nd Administrative Complaint (relative to Grave Threats) the Lupon Tagapamayapa. 15We have repeatedly ruled that
1. incompetence, ignorance of the law and abuse of the proceedings before the lupon are a precondition to the
authority for taking cognizance of Criminal Case No. filing of any action or proceeding in court or other
2664, entitled "People vs. Leo Wingarts," for grave government office. Such an initiatory pleading, if filed without
threats and for issuing a warrant of arrest against him compliance with the precondition, may be dismissed on
despite lack of prior barangay conciliation. The said case motion of any interested party on the ground that it fails to
was later dismissed and indorsed to the barangay official state a cause of action. 16
concerned.
 3rd Administrative Complaint (relative to Usurpation) In any event, respondent judge deserves to be appropriately
1. unjust decision in usurpation of authority. penalized for his regrettably erroneous action in connection with
 Judge Mejia: COMMENT Criminal Case No. 2664 of his court. We have repeatedly stressed
1. he took cognizance of the case for Grave Threats in the that a municipal trial judge occupies the forefront of the judicial
belief that there had been substantial compliance with arm that is closest in reach to the public he serves, and he must
the requirements of the Katarungang Pambarangay Law accordingly act at all times with great constancy and utmost
since a certification of the barangay captain regarding a probity. 20Any kind of failure in the discharge of this grave
confrontation of the parties, the fact that no amicable responsibility cannot be countenanced in order to maintain the
settlement was reached by them, and that he was faith of the public in the judiciary, especially on the level of courts
endorsing the filing of the case in court, had been duly to which most of them resort for redress.
submitted to respondent judge
WHEREFORE respondent Judge Servillano M. Mejia is
(hindi ko na nilagay mga di related sa LGC)
ORDERED to pay a fine of Two Thousand Pesos (P2,000.00),
with a STERN WARNING that the commission of the same or
 Office of the Court Administrator: similar offense will be dealt with more severely.
o Charge of incompetence, ignorance of the law and
abuse of authority: meritorious
 Had respondent Judge exercised greater
prudence, he could have known at the
outset that under Art. 408 (c), Chapter 7,