Court-Annexed Mediation in the Philippines – Community Involvement in the Judicial System
Ariel Macaspac Penetrante
Institute for Infrastructure and Resources Management
May 1, 2010
THE IMPACT OF HISTORY, MEMORY, AND CULTURE IN NEGOTIATION, W. Zartman, ed., International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, 2010
The involvement of communities in the Philippine judicial system contributes further to the considered uniqueness of the legal system in the country which is a blend of civil law (Roman), common law (Anglo-American), religious (Islamic) law and indigenous law resulting inevitably from the country’s colonial past. Aside from religion (e.g. Quran as primary source for Muslim law particularly in Muslim communities), the involvement of communities is a major element of the Philippine judicial system, particularly with communities intervening as mediators to assist conflict parties to reach an acceptable agreement. The pre-colonial traditional practice of dispute settlement through the so-called “barangay justice system” has been institutionalized through the Presidential Decree No. 1508 (Establishing a System of Amicably Settling Disputes at the Barangay Level) in June 11, 1978 by President Ferdinand Marcos. This system involves the “lupong tagapamayapa” (committee of peace) and the barangay captain serving as its chairman, intervening as mediators in the barangay (village) level. Furthermore, the Supreme Court “en banc” resolution No. 01-10-5-SC dated October 16, 200 prescribed guidelines in institutionalizing mediation which promotes a paradigm shift in resolving disputes from the rights-based (judicial) to an interest-based (mediation) process paving the recognition of the importance of community level mediation. Following a pilot test of mediation in the Court of Appeals (CA), the Supreme Court approved the institutionalization of the Appelate Court Mediation in 2004. Furthermore, the courts are required to determine the possibility of an amicable settlement whereas the consultation of the barangay (village) mediation serves as a prerequisite in accepting cases.
This essay aims to discuss some theoretical and practical problems behind the community level mediation process in the country caused by its inherent structural weaknesses. The identification of gaps and loop-holes which to some extent undermines the efficiency of mediation can be useful in determining policies that would eventually ensure the sustainability and resilience of the agreements reached.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 4
Keywords: Court Annexed Mediation, Mediation, Philippines, Community Mediation
JEL Classification: H77, P32
Date posted: September 12, 2010