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MEDIATION

Mediation in the Philippines as an alternative mode of dispute


resolution (ADR) is available through various forums. This is
because of the absence then of a general law that would govern ADR
such that several laws on various subjects (but would invariably
include mediation as a part) were in effect. With the issuance in
2044 of the general law, the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act of
2004 (Republic Act No. 9285), a general legislative framework is
now available for the promotion of Mediation as an ADR. Despite
this, however, it is seen that the existing avenues for mediation shall
continue to subsist but that there is room for more forum for ADR.

Under the ADR Act, Congress declared the State policy to promote
party autonomy in the resolution of disputes or the freedom of the party to
make their own arrangements to resolve their disputes. The State thus
promotes and encourages the use of ADR as a means to achieve speedy and
impartial justice and declog court dockets.

Cases Covered: Section 6 of RA 9285 specifically excludes from the


coverage of the act the following types of disputes:

1. labor disputes covered by the Labor Code of the Philippines (PD 442), as
amended, and its Implementing Rules and Regulations
2. the civil status of persons
3. the validity of a marriage
4. any ground for legal separation
5. the jurisdiction of courts
6. future legitime
7. criminal liability
8. those which by law cannot be compromised

Mediation under the ADR Act:

One of the modes of alternative dispute resolution the use of which is


promoted and encouraged under RA 9285 is mediation. RA 9285 defines
“Mediation” as a voluntary process in which a mediator, selected by the
disputing parties, facilitates communication and negotiation, and assist the
parties in reaching a voluntary agreement regarding a dispute.

Kinds of Mediation:

RA 9285 encourages mediation, whether ad-hoc or institutional


but does not define ad-hoc mediation or institutional mediation.
These two (2) types exclude the court annexed mediation modes
described earlier. By inference from the descriptive words used:
1. ad-hoc mediation is one where the parameters of the mediation set by
the parties are only for the particular dispute;
2. institutional mediation is one where the parties refer their dispute to
an institution of mediators and agree to be bound by the rules of such
institution.

Characteristics of Mediation under the ADR Act:

1. Place of Mediation may be the subject of agreement.


2. Assistance of lawyers or non-parties is allowed but may also be
waived in writing but such waiver may be rescinded at any time.
3. Agreement by parties to institutional mediation necessarily includes
an agreement that the parties, the mediator, their lawyers or
nonparty participant are bound by the internal rules and
administrative policies of the mediation institution. Should there be
a conflict between the institution’s rules and RA 9285, the latter
shall prevail.
4. Information obtained through mediation which would otherwise not
have been subject to the modes of discovery sanctioned by rules of
procedure is considered privileged and confidential and cannot be
introduced as evidence. There are exceptions to the privilege in RA
9285 as enumerated under Section 11 thereof.
5. If settlement is reached during mediation, parties prepare
settlement agreement, with assistance of their respective counsel
and of mediator, The mediator certifies that the terms of the
agreement has been adequately explained to the parties in a
language know to them. If parties agree, they may be deposited
with the “appropriate Clerk of the Regional Trial Court” of the place
where any one of the parties reside. Should there be a need to
invoke the power of the courts to enforce the agreement, a petition
may be filed in that court, which shall proceed summarily to hear
the petition.

What is Court-Annexed Mediation (CAM)?

CAM is a voluntary process conducted under the auspices of the court


by referring the parties to the Philippine Mediation Center (PMC) Unit for the
settlement of their dispute, assisted by a Mediator accredited by the
Supreme Court.

What are the cases subject to CAM?

The following cases shall be referred to CAM:

1. All civil cases, except those which by law may not be compromised
(Article 2035, New Civil Code);
2. Special proceedings for the settlement of estates;
3. The civil aspect of Quasi-Offenses under Title 14 of the Revised Penal
Code;

4. The civil aspect of criminal cases where the imposable penalty does
not exceed six years imprisonment and the offended party is a private
person; and

5. The civil aspect of theft (not qualified theft), estafa (not syndicated or
large scale estafa), and libel.

What is Judicial Dispute Resolution (JDR)?

JDR is a process whereby the judge (called the JDR Judge) employs
conciliation, mediation or early neutral evaluation in order to settle a case at
the pre-trial stage. In the event the JDR fails, then another judge (called
the trial judge) shall proceed to hear and decide the case.

What are the cases subject to JDR?

The following cases shall be referred to JDR by Judges in areas declared as


JDR sites:

1. All cases which were not successfully settled in CAM;


2. All appealed cases from the exclusive and original jurisdiction of the
First Level Courts:

o over civil cases and probate proceedings, testate and intestate,


under Section 33, paragraph (1) of the Judiciary Reorganization
Act of 1980;

o over cases of forcible entry and unlawful detainer under Section


33, paragraph (2) of the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980;

o over civil cases involving title to or possession of real property or


an interest therein under Section 33, paragraph (3) of the
Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980; and

o over a habeas corpus case decided by the judge of the first level
court, in the absence of all the Regional Trial Court judges in the
province or city, that are brought up on appeal from the special
jurisdiction granted to the first level courts under Section 35 of
the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980.

What are the cases that cannot be referred to CAM and JDR?

The following cases shall not be referred to CAM and JDR:

1. Civil cases which by law cannot be compromised, as follows:


o The civil status of persons;

o The validity of a marriage or a legal separation;


o Any ground for legal separation;

o Future support;

o The jurisdiction of courts; and

o Future legitime.

2. Civil aspect of non-mediatable criminal cases;

3. Petitions for Habeas Corpus;

4. All cases under Republic Act No. 9262 (Violence against Women and
Children); and

5. Cases with pending application for Restraining Orders/Preliminary


Injunctions.

However, in cases covered in numbers 1, 4 and 5 where the parties


inform the court that they have agreed to undergo mediation on some
aspects thereof, e.g., custody of minor children, separation of property, or
support pendente lite, the court shall refer them to mediation.

What is Mediation Fee?

The mediation fee is the amount collected by the Clerk of Court from
the filing of civil cases and private complainant in criminal cases.

What is Mediation Fund?

Mediation fund is the totality of the mediation fees, receipted and


separated as a special fund, known as the SC-PHILJA-PMC Mediation Trust
Fund, which is managed by the Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA), subject
to accounting and auditing rules and regulations.

How much is collected as Mediation Fee?

In the Regional Trial Courts and the First-Level Courts, the Clerks of Court
shall collect the amount of FIVE HUNDRED PESOS (P500.00) upon the filing
of the following:

1. Complaint or an Answer with a mediatable permissive counterclaim or


cross-claim, complaint-in-intervention, third-party complaint, fourth-
party complaint, etc., in civil cases, a Petition, an Opposition, and a
Creditors’ Claim in Special Proceedings;
2. Complaint/Information for offenses with maximum imposable penalty
of prision correccional in its maximum period or six years
imprisonment, except where the civil liability is reserved or is subject
of a separate action;
3. Complaint/Information for estafa, theft, and libel cases, except where
the civil liability is reserved or is subject of a separate action;

4. Complaint/Information for Quasi-Offenses under Title 14 of the


Revised Penal Code;

5. Intellectual Property cases;

6. Commercial or corporate cases; and

7. Environmental cases

The Clerks of Court of the First Level Courts shall collect the amount of
FIVE HUNDRED PESOS (P500.00) upon the filing of a Notice of Appeal with
the Regional Trial Court.

The Clerks of Court of the Regional Trial Court shall collect the amount of
ONE THOUSAND PESOS (P1,000.00) upon the filing of a Notice of Appeal
with the Court of Appeals or the Sandiganbayan.

In the Court of Appeals and Court of Tax Appeals, the Clerks of Court
shall collect the amount of ONE THOUSAND PESOS (P1,000.00) upon the
filing of a mediatable case, petition, special civil action, a comment/answer
to the petition or action, and the appellee’s brief. The Clerk of Court of the
Court of Tax Appeals shall also collect the amount of ONE THOUSAND PESOS
(P1,000.00) for the appeal from the decision of a CTA Division to the CTA En
Banc.

Why is Mediation Fee collected even in areas where there are no


PMC Units?

The mediation fee is intended as a contribution to promote mediation. It is


not collected for mediation services rendered or to be rendered.

Are there any exemptions from payment of Mediation Fees?

Yes, the following are exempted from paying mediation fees:

1. Pauper litigants as determined by the Court. However, despite such


exemption, the court shall provide that the unpaid contribution to the
Mediation Fund shall be considered a lien on any monetary award in a
judgment favorable to the pauper litigant.
2. Accused/accused-appellant.

3. The Republic of the Philippines, its agencies and instrumentalities are


exempt from paying the legal fees provided in the rule. Local
Governments and Government-Owned or Controlled Corporations
(GOCC) with or without independent charters are not exempt from
paying such fees.
However, all court actions, criminal or civil, instituted at the instance
of the provincial, city or municipal treasurer or assessor under Sec.
280 of the Local Government Code of 1991 shall be exempt from the
payment of Court and Sheriff’s Fees.

4. Tenant-Farmer, agricultural lessee or tiller, settler or amortizing


owner-cultivator (P.D. No. 946, Sec. 16, June 17, 1976).

5. Indigent Clients of the Public Attorney’s Office (OCA Circular No. 121-
2007, Dec. 11, 2007).

6. Clients of the National Committee on Legal Aid (NCLA) and of Legal


Aide Offices in the Local Chapters of the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines (OCA Circular No. 137-2009, October 7, 2009).

What is the purpose of the Mediation Fund?

The Fund shall be used for:

1. Establishment of PMC Units;


2. Training seminars/ workshops/ internship programs for Mediators;

3. Payment of Mediators’ Fees;

4. Compensation of the PMC Unit Staff;

5. Payment of operating expenses;

6. Advocacy and promotion of court-annexed mediation and other


relevant modes of ADR; and

7. Such other expenses as authorized by Section 9, Rule 141 of the Rules


of Court.