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to_dave007

Experience with Barangay Hearings to Settle Local Disputes

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to_dave007

In 1978 President Marcos established a system of barangay hearings (more formally called Lupong Tagapayapa, or Lupon) to amicably settle disputes at the barangay level.  This was done by Presidential Decree #1508, and the text of that decree appears here:

 http://www.chanrobles.com/presidentialdecrees/presidentialdecreeno1508.html#.XYKIvHduIrw

Does anyone here have FIRST HAND experience with these hearings.  Willing to share some stories?

I am well aware that many foreigners will say these hearings are "rigged"..  or that decisions will always go against foreigners..  or that decisions must be bought to be successful and so on.  I want to try at least to dig deeper than that. 

Edited by to_dave007
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Jawny

I have had experience with the process.  It may be formalized by law, but in fact it is not of a lot of use for matters of substance. Our access to our land was blocked by a neighbor.  He was claiming ownership of the right of way.  Three meetings were held to discuss resolving the issue.  None were agreed to and the Barangay had no enforcement power.  However, before we went to court (we did) it was obligatory to go through the barangay process. 

To prove we’d done so, we needed an official record of the three meetings.  This consisted of a sheet of notebook paper with some vaguely worded statements for each meeting and signatures.  A farce, at best.

Most of the complaints have to do with more trivial matters such as someone calling another person a whore or a neighbor stealing a chicken. 

Edited by Jawny
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bkb1

At the Barangay level your outcome will depend on the corruption level, who you know, who they know and who is related to who, but there is always a chance the Barangay captain might be a stand up guy that is as honest as the day is long.

I had an experience the morning I was heading from Negros to Manila to catch my return flight to Canada. A barangay rep delivered  a letter requesting we attend a hearing at the Barangay hall that morning.

A cousin of my wife whom I affectionately refer to as cousin f face queen crab was the instigator. A long story short,  my wife and I had just spent 3 weeks preparing for and getting married. During that time cousin crab and her sisters were texting my wife several times a day making demands of money and gifts. it seems cousin crab and her immediate family see themselves as the elite pod of the greater clan and are therefore entitled to royal perks .

Being the Canadian rube I am, I didn't quite see it that way and had a bit of fun messing with their entitled minds or lack therefore of. I would answer the texts they sent my wife making them aware they weren't as special as they thought they were and as far as gifts and monetary gains go the only thing they could avail of was the sweat off my bag. 

On our last night cousin crab showed up with her 12 year old daughter to make her last desperate demands before we left. I didn't entertain her and requested politely 3 times that she go, then not so politely until she left. She went straight to the police attempting to have me arrested for causing her daughter stress, I think the local police knew her and laughed her out the door.

The barangay experience was ok, the captain did his best to defuse the situation and what was accomplished in the end is cousin crab doesn't talk to us anymore and we avoid them like the plague.

The whole cause of this from what I can see, is that my wife married a man with more money then them and as a result her community status would rise above theirs.

Like anything in the Philippines the outcome of any given situation will vary depending on knowledge or lack of,  who, what , where and someones mood.

 

Edited by bkb1
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to_dave007
45 minutes ago, Jawny said:

I have had experience with the process.  It may be formalized by law, but in fact it is not of a lot of use for matters of substance. Our access to our land was blocked by a neighbor.  He was claiming ownership of the right of way.  Three meetings were held to discuss resolving the issue.  None were agreed to and the Barangay had no enforcement power.  However, before we went to court (we did) it was obligatory to go through the barangay process. 

To prove we’d done so, we needed an official record of the three meetings.  This consisted of a sheet of notebook paper with some vaguely worded statements for each meeting and signatures.  A farce, at best.

Most of the complaints have to do with more trivial matters such as someone calling another person a whore or a neighbor stealing a chicken. 

The process SEEMS to be intended to TRY to get issues resolved OUTSIDE the court system, but only IF the parties can agree.  I suppose if it achieves that then it saves valuable court time, plus it provides some measure of cheap justice to the poor (since no need to pay attorney for barangay hearing).

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shadow

I have been involved three times with these meetings, with various levels of success. One was over a welder that belonged to me, that I loaned to a "friend" (Brit). The welder had been damaged in Sendong while in his possession, and he wanted me to pay P3000 for repairs, which was the current value of the machine. I made a post about that on Dumagueteinfo at the time, you can read that here if you wish, it's a little long winded, but well worth the read;

https://dumagueteinfo.com/board/threads/what-makes-dick-tick.7620/

Another case I won was over a dog bite, a local gay claimed my dog had bitten him. I won that one too.

But my firs experience with a barangay meeting was over a buggy I built, pictures of which are in the files section. However this time I was up against a very politically connected family, and the ruling went against me. I have always felt that ruling was unjust, and they won just on the merits of their political connections to a very wealthy and prominent local family.

Keep in mind that these are just meeting with a moderator, they have no power to order anybody to do anything. They are designed to keep a lot of the small claims out of the local courts. I wish I had known that during my first meeting about the buggy.

 

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to_dave007

do payments need to be made for barangay hearing?  is there a "customary" amount?  some kind of protocol?   I'm interested in knowing what's "customary"..  and "normal"

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Jawny

The process only becomes a binding agreement if the parties involved agree to that.  In fact, I’ve been involved in other instances, but the one I described was the only one that lead to an elevation of the issue to court.

Our lawyer was the one who advised we go through the process in good faith.  So, we did make alternative suggestions.  Again, the council role was to mediate, not mandate.  So, there was no judgement made at the meetings.  

Within our area, pretty much everyone is related to just a few families.  Either by marriage or birth.  There are some who think they are wealthy and influential, but it really comes down to who has the money to hire a lawyer and go through the costly legal process.  

I do recall one that amuses me.  A woman complained that some teenagers were stealing her chickens for a meal.  The outcome of her complaint was that she should keep them caged if she didn’t want them stolen.

With regard to police involvement, they will typically not get involved unless a crime of some sort is involved.  In our instance, my FIL did go to the police.  They suggested he place his own barrier to the right of way to essentially block the troublemaker into his own land.  

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Jawny

The meetings are not paid for.  However, one meeting we were told to attend had this vaguely worded requirement to bring all sorts of documents which would have involved expense to obtain, never mind the impossibility to get ahead of the meeting.  We ignored that requirement realizing it was just a clerk typing a standard format. 

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to_dave007

My wife and are contemplating a barangay hearing over accusations of improper behaviour that have been made about our two sons, age 8 and 7.

After long chat with our two sons, it seems that one son (7) was in our second house..  where mamma lives..  30 steps up the hill behind our house.  He was alone there playing with his dog when neighbour boy (4) comes in with his sister (3).  The boy (4) pulled down his sisters (3) pants and touched her.  Then goes home and says my son (7) did it.  I believe my son.  One son wasn't even there, and the other son says he saw it, but didn't do it.  No adult saw anything.  The neighbour boy (4) has a history of acting out in sexual ways..  lifting dresses..  pulling pants down..  calling out "can I kiss your vagina" to women..  including my wife and her sister.  Not helped that his grandfather (and caregiver) is a midwife and sees patients in the house.  I installed partial fence between the properties about 18 months ago to "hint" that the boy should stay home.  Hasn't worked.  And now someone OUTSIDE that family has made accusations of inappropriate behavior (sexual touching) about both my sons, even though my son (8) wasn't even there and other son (7) saw it but didn't touch.

My PREFERRED way to handle this is polite sit down with the parents of other side..  but highly unlikely in this case.  

Seems likely we will need to improve the fence, but I think we need more.

 

Edited by to_dave007
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Davaoeno

Made accusations to who? Police? 

Why sit down with the other family? They haven't made any accusations ( going by what you say)

According to you everyone already knows the neighbors kid is acting inappropriately so why waste your time even talking about it.  

But you are there and I'm not

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to_dave007
32 minutes ago, Davaoeno said:

Made accusations to who? Police? 

Why sit down with the other family? They haven't made any accusations ( going by what you say)

According to you everyone already knows the neighbors kid is acting inappropriately so why waste your time even talking about it.  

But you are there and I'm not

I'm 50/50 on the issue..  but wife is not.  She's angry and wants to guard the reputation of the boys.

And the other family HAS made accusations..  That's how the outsider learned of the event. How else?

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Jawny

I would advise against using a public forum for a matter of this sort.  Even a police report would seem unnecessary.  Once it becomes a public matter, now the entire matter takes on a whole new look.  I can only guess what sort of social issues will develop, even extending to the school.  

When my son was first starting school, I was a single parent and a fellow who I car pooled with let me drop my son at his house when we departed for work.  His wife, a Korean, would care for him until time for school and then get him to school, I think it was kindergarten. My friend had two daughters, one younger one older than my son.

One day I was told, in polite and courteous words, my son couldn’t stay with the family any more.  He had been showing his privates to the girls by pulling his waist band.  The wife was unyielding and I didn’t want to lose the friendship, so I found alternative childcare.  I also gave away his belt less trousers and taught him how to use a belt.  

Advice from me is to continue on the fence building.  

Edited by Jawny
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shadow
21 minutes ago, to_dave007 said:

I'm 50/50 on the issue..  but wife is not.  She's angry and wants to guard the reputation of the boys.

And the other family HAS made accusations..  That's how the outsider learned of the event. How else?

I too am 50/50 on the issue. Making it more public may do more harm than good. My thoughts would be to complete the fence. If the issue does not get raised again, let it go. If it does come up again, maybe time to go to the barangay, and bring all your witnesses. These are serious accusations that has the potential of long term effects possibly destroying a youngsters quality of life.

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to_dave007
53 minutes ago, shadow said:

 Making it more public may do more harm than good. 

My thoughts EXACTLY

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Bama

Wife and I have been through a few barangay hearings over the years.

In our experience if the other party knows that they are at fault/wrong then they simply just don't show up. Two more attempts of a meeting are made----if they still don't show up---then it's over and nothing is resolved.This is unlike the states where if you don't show up for small claims court---you lose.

Something else for the OP or Dave to consider. Using my wifes barrio as an example----probably not like this everywhere---if his wife didn't vote for the current barangay captain but voted for his opponent----then you can expect to lose every time. This is the unfailing truth in my wifes barrio and the reason why she stays out of local elections.

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