WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE IN THE KATARUNGAN PAMBARANGAY LAW? 1. While the dispute is under mediation conciliation or arbitration, the prescriptive. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT NO INDIVIDUAL CAN GO DIRECTLY TO COURT OR ANY GOVERNMENT OFFICE FOR ADJUDICATION OF HIS/HER . Pambarangay Law? As a general rule, all disputes may be the subject of barangay conciliation before the Katarungang Pambarangay, except for the following.
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Republic of the Philippines. On petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court is the Decision  dated March 27, of the Court of Appeals CA dismissing the petition for certiorari and the Resolution  dated July 3, denying the motion for reconsideration thereof in CA-G. Agbayani Agbayani assails the resolution of the Department of Justice DOJ which directed the withdrawal of her complaint for grave oral defamation filed against respondent Loida Marcelina J.
In a Resolution  rendered on February 12,the Office of the City Prosecutor of Las Pias City  found probable cause for the filing of the Information for grave oral defamation against Genabe. Pineda Pineda found that: After careful evaluation and consideration of the evidence on record, we find merit pambaraangay the instant petition.
Contrary to the findings in the assailed resolution, we find that the subject utterances of respondent constitute only slight oral defamation. As alleged by the [petitioner] in paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 of her complaint-affidavit, respondent uttered the remarks subject matter of the instant case in the heat of anger.
This was also the tenor of the sworn statements of the witnesses for complainant. The Supreme Court, in the case of Cruz vs. Court of Appeals, G. L, November 25,x x x held that although abusive remarks may ordinarily be considered katarugnang serious defamation, under the environmental oambarangay of the case, there having been provocation on complainants part, and the utterances complained of having been made in the heat of unrestrained anger and obfuscationsuch utterances constitute only the crime of slight oral defamation.
As shown by the records, the parties herein are residents of Las Pias City. The complaint-affidavit, however, failed to show that the instant case was previously referred to the barangay for conciliation in compliance with Sections andparagraph dof the Local Government Code, which provides: The lupon of each barangay shall have authority to bring together the parties actually residing in the same city or municipality for amicable settlement of all disputes except: The records of the case likewise show that the instant case is not one of the exceptions enumerated under Section of the Local Government Code.
Hence, the dismissal of the instant petition is proper. It is well-noted that the Supreme Court held that where the case kqtarungang covered by P.
Where the complaint a did not state that it is one of the excepted cases, or b pambraangay did not allege prior availment of said conciliation process, or c did not have a certification that no conciliation or settlement had been reached by the parties, the case should be dismissed x x x.
While the foregoing doctrine is handed katarungan in civil cases, it is submitted that the same should apply to criminal cases covered by, but filed without complying with, the provisions of P. Accordingly, the City Prosecutor of Las Pias City is directed to move for the withdrawal of the information for grave oral defamation filed against respondent Loida Marcelina J.
Genabe, and report the action taken thereon within ten 10 days from receipt hereof. The petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, which was denied in a Resolution  dated June 25, Dela Pea the CA stated that for grave abuse of discretion to exist, the complained act must constitute a capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as it is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction, or when the power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility, and it must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law.
It is not sufficient that a tribunal, in the exercise of its power, abused its discretion; such abuse must be grave. On motion for reconsideration by the petitioner, the CA denied the same in its Resolution  dated July 3, Hence, the instant petition. Maintaining her stance, Agbayani raised the following, to wit: The petition is bereft of merit.
We shall first tackle Agbayani’s arguments on the first two issues raised in the instant petition. Petitioner Agbayani alleged that Undersecretary Pineda unfairly heeded only to the arguments interposed by respondent Genabe in her comment; and the CA, in turn, katarugang his findings and reasoning as gospel truth. Agbayanis c omment was completely disregarded and suppressed in the records of the DOJ. Agbayani discovered this when she went to the DOJ to examine the records, as soon as she received a copy of the DOJ Resolution of her motion for reconsideration.
Further, petitioner Agbayani maintained that respondent Genabes P etition for Review  should have been dismissed outright, since it failed to state the name and address of the petitioner, nor did it show proof of service to her, pursuant to Sections 5 and 6 of DOJ Circular No. Also, the petition was not accompanied with the required attachments, i. Thus, a grave irregularity was committed by the DOJ in allowing the surreptitious insertion of these and many other documents in the records of the case, after the petition had been filed.
In particular, petitioner Agbayani alleged that when the petition was filed on Pambaeangay 22,only five 5 documents were attached thereto, namely: However, at the time the Resolution of the DOJ was issued, a total of forty-one 41 documents  formed part of the records of the petition. Agbayani asserted that these thirty-six 36 documents were surreptitiously and illegally attached to the records of the case, an act constituting extrinsic fraud and grave misconduct.
Petitioner Agbayani reiterated that her version of the incident was corroborated by kafarungang witnesses officemates of Agbayani and Genabewhile that of Genabe was not. And since the crime committed by respondent Genabe consisted of her exact utterances, the DOJ erred in downgrading the same to slight oral defamation, completely disregarding the finding by the Investigating Prosecutor of probable cause for the greater offense of grave oral defamation.
She denied that she gave provocation to respondent Genabe, insisting that the latter committed the offense with malice aforethought and not in the heat of anger. We find no merit in the above arguments. It is well to be reminded, first of all, that the rules of procedure should be viewed as mere instruments designed to facilitate the attainment of justice.
They are not to be applied with severity and rigidity when such application would kataurngang defeat the very rationale for their conception and existence. Even the Rules of Court reflects this principle. Anent the charge of non-compliance with the rules on appeal, Sections 5 and 6 of the aforesaid DOJ Circular provide: If an information has been filed in court pursuant to the appealed resolution, a copy ktaarungang the motion to defer proceedings filed in court must also accompany the petition.
The party taking the appeal shall be referred to in the petition as either “Complainant-Appellant” or “Respondent-Appellant. Effect of failure to comply with the requirements. The failure of petitioner to comply WITH ANY of the foregoing requirements shall constitute sufficient ground for the dismissal of the petition. Contrary to petitioner Agbayani’s claim, there was substantial compliance with the rules. Respondent Genabe actually mentioned on page 2 of her petition for review to the DOJ the name of the petitioner as the private complainant, as well as indicated the latters address on llaw last page thereof as RTC BranchLas Pias City.
The CA also noted that there was proper service of the petition as required by the rules since the petitioner was able to file her comment thereon. Moreover, a computer verification requested by the petitioner showed that the prosecutor assigned to the case had received a copy of the petitioners comment.
WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE IN THE KATARUNGAN PAMBARANGAY LAW?
As to the charge of extrinsic fraud, which consists of the alleged suppression of Agbayani’s Comment and the unauthorized insertion of documents in the records of the case with the DOJ, we agree with the CA that this is a serious charge, especially if made against the Undersecretary of Justice; and in order for it to prosper, it must be supported by clear and convincing evidence.
However, petitioner Agbayani’s only proof is her bare claim that she personally checked the records and found that her Comment was missing and 36 new documents had been inserted. This matter was readily brought to the attention of Undersecretary Pineda by petitioner Agbayani in her motion for reconsideration, who however must surely have found such contention without merit, and thus denied the motion.
Section 5 of the NPS Rules on Appeal also provides that the petition for review must be accompanied by a legible duplicate original or certified true copy of the resolution appealed from, together with legible true copies of the complaint, affidavits or sworn statements and other evidence submitted by the parties during the preliminary investigation or reinvestigation.
Petitioner Agbayani does not claim that she was never furnished, during the preliminary investigation, with copies of the alleged inserted documents, or that any of these documents were fabricated. Katarnugang fact, at least seven 7 of these documents were copies of her own submissions to the investigating prosecutor. As for Document Katzrungang. Section 3 of the above Rules kataeungang that an appeal to the DOJ must be taken within fifteen 15 days from receipt of the resolution or of the denial of the motion for reconsideration.
While it may be presumed that the motion to defer arraignment accompanying the petition should also be filed within the appeal period, respondent Genabe can not actually be faulted if the resolution thereof was made after the lapse of the period to appeal. Asia United Bank a motion for reconsideration from the resolution of the Secretary of Justice, which was filed four 4 days beyond the non-extendible period of ten 10 days, was allowed under Section 13 of the NPS Rules on Appeal.
The Supreme Court held that the authority of the Secretary of Justice to review and order the withdrawal of an Information in instances where he finds the absence of a prima facie case is not time-barred, albeit subject to the approval of the court, if its jurisdiction over the accused has meanwhile attached.
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT CIRCULARS – CHAN ROBLES VIRTUAL LAW LIBRARY
And is it not a grievous error on the part of the CA if it virtually orders the filing of an information, as here, despite a categorical statement from the Secretary of Justice about the lack of evidence to proceed with the prosecution of the petitioner? The answer to both posers should be in the affirmative.
As we said in Santos v. He may dismiss the complaint forthwith, if he finds the charge insufficient in form or substance, or without any ground. Or, he may proceed with the investigation if the complaint in his view is sufficient and in proper form.
The decision whether to dismiss a complaint or not, is dependent upon the sound discretion of the prosecuting fiscal and, ultimately, that of the Secretary of Justice. Findings of the Secretary of Justice are not subject to review unless made with grave abuse of discretion. For, the irresistible thrust of the assailed CA decision is that the DOJ Secretary is peremptorily barred from taking a second hard look at his decision and, in appropriate cases, reverse or modify the same unless and until a motion for reconsideration is timely interposed and pursued.
As the Court pointed out in Torres, Jr.
Aguinaldothe Secretary of Justice would be committing a serious dereliction of duty if he orders or sanctions the filing of an information based upon a complaint where he is not convinced that the evidence warrants the filing of the action in court. The Court further stated in Guy that when the DOJ Secretary took cognizance of the petitioner’s motion for reconsideration, he effectively excepted such motion from the operation of the aforequoted Section 13 of DOJ Circular No.
This show of liberality is, to us, within the competence of the DOJ Secretary to make.
The Court is not inclined to disturb the same absent compelling proof, that he acted out of whim and that petitioner was out to delay the proceedings to the prejudice of respondent in filing the motion for reconsideration.
The case of First Women’s Credit Corporation v. Perez succinctly summarizes the general rules relative to criminal prosecution: But while prosecutors are given sufficient latitude of discretion in the determination of probable cause, pmabarangay findings are still subject to review by the Secretary of Justice. Surely, this power of the Secretary of Justice to review includes the discretion to accept additional evidence from the investigating prosecutor or from herein respondent Genabe, evidence which nonetheless appears to have already been submitted to the investigating prosecutor but inadvertently omitted by her when she filed her petition.
Coming now to the DOJ’s finding that the c omplaint fails to state a cause of action, the CA held that the DOJ committed no grave abuse of discretion in causing the las thereof on the ground of non-compliance with the provisions of the Local Government Code ofon the Katarungang Pambarangay conciliation procedure. Undeniably, both petitioner Agbayani and respondent Genabe are residents of Las Pi as City and both work at the RTC, and the incident which is the subject matter of the katarunfang happened in their workplace.
Subject Matter for Amicable Settlement; Exception thereto. The lupon of each barangay shall have authority to bring together the parties actually residing in the same city or municipality for amicable settlement of all disputes, lsw The compulsory process of arbitration is a pre-condition for the filing of the complaint in court. Where the complaint a did not state that it is one of excepted cases, or b it did not allege prior availment of said conciliation process, or c did not have a certification that no conciliation had been reached by the parties, the case should be dismissed.
Here, petitioner Agbayani failed to show that the instant case is not one of the exceptions enumerated above. Neither has she shown that the oral defamation caused on her was so grave as to merit a penalty of more than one year.
Oral defamation under Article of the Revised Penal Kwtarungang, as amended, is penalized as follows: Oral defamation shall be punished by arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period if it is of a serious and insulting nature; otherwise, the penalty shall be arresto menor or a fine not exceeding pesos.
Apparently, the DOJ found probable cause only for slight oral defamation. As defined in Villanueva v. People oral defamation or slander is the speaking of base and defamatory words which tend to prejudice another in his reputation, office, trade, business or means of livelihood.
It is grave slander when it is of a serious and insulting nature. The gravity depends upon: In particular, it is a rule that uttering defamatory words in the heat of anger, with some provocation on the part of the offended party constitutes only a light felony.