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Bachelor of Science in Criminology



Presented by

Jimbo C. Gamilde
Rodrigo Halunajan
Jomar Gabaon
Russel Devis
Ederson Yulo

January 14, 2019


The Barangay Justice System or Katarungang Pambarangay is a system for the amicable

settlement of disputes at the barangay level. It aims to promote speedy administration of justice

and to relieve the courts of conciliable criminal and civil cases. The Barangay Justice System is

neither a court of justice nor a judicial tribunal where cases are heard and decided before a judge

or a jury. It is an administrative body at the barangay level where community members may

reconcile their differences without resorting to judicial process, thus avoiding protracted and

expensive settlement of disputes before the court. This study focused on the Barangay Justice

System of Barangay Barangobong, Sta. Lucia, Ilocos Sur which included 141 filed cases. The

respondents of the study included the punong barangay (village captain), barangay secretary and

the members of the lupongtagapamayapa (community conciliators). Documentary analysis and

interview were the primary sources of the data. Based on the gathered data, majority of the filed

cases were resolved with the help of the barangay justice system. Small Claims and trespassing

were the cases which were commonly not resolved due to the lack of: evidence and the identities

of who committed the offenses.

Keywords: Barangay Justice System, Good Governance

Background of the Study
Within the context of the renewed interest in law and

development, the “good governance” agenda has recently

incorporated the ‘rule of law’ as one of its main pillars. This

initiative denotes the recognition of the impact that legal and

judicial institutions have on the lives of ordinary people,

especially the poor and disadvantaged, who are often the most

severely affected by the lack of security and protection in their

everyday lives (World Bank, 2010).

Formal judicial systems evidence serious deficiencies in

providing quality justice to all, and as social institutions, they

are deeply entrenched in the power dynamics that prevail in the

context in which they operate (Soriano, 2012). It is therefore

essential to consider the link between law and power when analysing

the huge differences in access to justice, which, especially in

many developing countries has forced poor people to avoid contact

with the formal legal system (Polka, 2011). This particular concern

about access to justice has led to an increasing experimentation

with a variety of ADR mechanisms worldwide (Basabas, 2015).

The paper will focus on recent initiatives to address this

problem in the Philippines, particularly the promotion and

institutionalisation of the Barangay Justice System (BJS) – an ADR

programme at the barangay (village) level- whose ultimate goal is

to improve access to justice through the amicable settlement of

family and community disputes (Hughes, 2010).

The BJS was first recognised in 1978 with the enactment of PD

1508 under Marcos dictatorship, but it was strengthened and further

consolidated within the decentralisation framework and the

enactment of the 1991 Local Government Code (LGC)(Orpilla, 2016).

The link between decentralisation and the recognition of ADR is

what makes the Philippine case original and attractive, mainly

considering the long highly centralised tradition imposed by

colonial powers (Santiago, 2011). The BJS is therefore the result

of a challenging devolution of powers and functions from the

central government to the barangays, and represents the only

decentralised justice programme that has been legally and

politically recognized (Koowel, 2010).

In addition, the paper will emphasise the importance of the

Philippine social and political conditions to understand how the

BJS actually work (Agingie, 2017). The large gap between legality

and reality that characterises the delivery of justice in many

developing countries is also present in the Philippine context,

and plays an important role in the operation of both the formal

judicial system and the BJS (Qassim, 2012).

Besides, the paper will suggest that the growing recognition

of the need to build partnerships between the governments and civil

society to improve security and access to justice for the poor and

most disadvantaged (DFID, 2010) is also part of the state policy

in the Philippines since the formulation of the 1987 Constitution

and the 1991 LGC. Hence, different NGOs such as the Gerry Roxas

Foundation (GRF) are actively collaborating with government

agencies to help strengthen the BJS and advocate for further

judicial reforms.

Therefore, this new status of civil society organisations

will be deemed a promising channel to overcome the operational

problems of the BJS, and thus, to improve its effectiveness in

providing access to justice for all, including the poor (Manila

Bulletin, 2010).

Given the above details of the Barangay Justice System, the

researchers are then driven to conduct this study focusing on the

evaluation of the Barangay Justice System of Barangay Barangobong,

Sta. Lucia significant enough in providing a more comprehensive

and transparent overview of the justice system in the country.

Theoretical/Conceptual Framework

The worldwide access to justice movement is attracting

considerable support, and is part of broader concerns on the ‘rule

of law’, which is one of the pillars of ‘good governance’. This

access to justice movement can be considered a very important

manifestation of a new approach to both legal scholarship and legal

reform in many different parts of the world. It has been especially

strong in continental Europe and the U.S. since the 1960s, when

the idea of a welfare state led reformers to call for changes in

national legal systems to enhance “access to justice,” especially

for disadvantaged groups (Sinnar, S., 2011).

At a theoretical level, the access to justice movement

challenged the formalistic approach that identified law with the

‘system of norms’ produced by the state; an approach that supported

an extremely simplified perception of social reality, without

taking into consideration the ‘real-world components – subjects,

institutions, processes and, more generally, their societal

context’ – (Cappelletti, M., 2013). It emphasizes the need to go

beyond this limited conception of law, and to analyze the processes

of interpretation and implementation of those rules, which reveal

how differently law operates in practice according to class, gender

and ethnicity (Houtzager, Peter P., 2011). Thus, the movement

represented a move towards a more realistic and complex vision of

human society. It emphasized the need to contextualize law within

a particular cultural background, and to consider its normative

aspect as only one of its elements. Moreover, as a reform movement

concerned with the limitations of the traditional civil law, it

became part of the criticism of liberal conceptions of -the rule

of law-, which neglected the real obstacles that many people

encounter in accessing and benefiting from civil and political

liberties. The politico-philosophical ideal of the liberal

revolution is difficult to criticize, since the achievement of a

genuine equality before the law is something that we would all

desire. However, the gap that separates this ideal from reality is

enormous, and therefore it is necessary to go beyond the

‘traditional liberties’ and add a social dimension to the Rule of

Law state. People’s material circumstances influence their

experience of justice. It is thus necessary to fight against the

conventional belief that “poverty is a misfortune for which the

law cannot take any responsibility at all” (a statement by the

highest court of the U.S. in the 1930s, Cappelletti, M., 2013).

Hence, still today, the access movement tries to provide possible

solutions to existing economic, organizational and procedural

difficulties in order to make justice more responsive to all

citizens, in particular the poor.

Following this motivation, there have been a great number of

alternatives oriented towards the need to lessen the difficulties

of access by identifying innovative means to resolve civil disputes

in a less costly, less time-consuming and simpler way than formal

litigation in the courts. On the one hand, the movement has

promoted a more extensive legal aid and advice to address the

economic barriers, and thus improve the quality of information and

awareness of legal rights (Cranston, R. 2017).

On the other hand, and responding to the recent economic

transformations of an increasingly globalised world, it tries to

propose new mechanisms that can protect isolated citizens from the

violation of their social rights. The development of class action

suits allows large number of similar claims to be aggregated.

Therefore, the economic rationale is that group suits reduce the

systemic cost of litigating multiple claims. Reforms in these cases

imply the creation of devices, whose main intention is to provide

effective protection of these collective interests3 to overcome

organizational limitations.

The access to justice movement has also been influenced by

the legal pluralist challenge to ‘legal centralism’ – the idea

that state norms have a monopoly in social ordering. The strongest

expression of the legal pluralist position would hold that norms

generated in various spheres of social interaction (such as

religious or customary norms, or indeed business practices) are no

less important than formal state laws (Griffiths, J., 2016). Thus,

the access to justice movement emphasizes the fact that new

alternatives – or alternatives that are informed by informal

systems that people have developed through their social

interactions- must be put in place to guarantee effective access

to justice for all. Reformers are therefore searching for real

‘alternatives’ to the ordinary courts and litigation procedures.

This growing concern to find effective alternatives to the formal

judicial system has facilitated the progressive support for

mediation, conciliation and arbitration as means of dispute


Research Paradigm

In table 1 the researchers will use the input, process, output

(IPO) model where on the input we will be focusing about the

profile of the respondents in terms of age, sex, civil status, and

religion, and the compliance to produce in terms of receiving

complaints, conduct of conciliation, settlement of awards and

execution. And in the process the researchers will be using the

descriptive evaluative method, floating of questionnaire and after

that the researchers will be collecting all of the data and analyze

for the result. And the output is; Barangay Justice System in

Barangay Barangobong, Sta. Lucia, Ilocos Sur.

Table 1
1. The  Descriptive  Barangay
profile of evaluative Justice
the method System in
respondents Barangay
 Floating of Barangobo
2. Level of questionnaire ng Sta.
compliance Lucia
to procedure Ilocos
of the Sur
 Collecting
floated data
 Analyze for
the result
Figure 1: Research Paradigm

Statement of the problem

This study aims to determine and analyze the effectiveness

of Barangay Justice System in Barangay Barangobong Sta. Lucia

Ilocos Sur.

Specifically, it will seek to answer the following


1. What are the criminal cases filed in Barangay Barangobong,

Sta. Lucia, Ilocos Sur?

2. What are the problems encountered during the

implementation of the Barangay Justice System in

Barangobong, Sta. Lucia, Ilocos Sur?

3. What are the proposed plans or strategies that will

address the problems encountered during the Barangay

Justice System implementation?

Research Design

This study will use descriptive evaluative method of research

since it will describe the profile of the respondents in terms of;

age, sex, civil status; and religion, the compliance to produce in

terms of; receiving complaints; conduct of conciliation,

settlement of awards and execution. And reasons to the respondent’s

adherence and non-adherence to the Barangay Justice System.

According to Alfredo Flores Tadiar (2015), a Filipino

attorney whose strong advocacy for the commitment to the

alternative disputes resolution (ADR) movement has led to his

recognition by chief justice Hilario Davide, jr. as the father of

ADR in the Philippines. Impost that the survey method employs

application of scientific method by critically analyzing and

examining the source materials by analyzing and interpreting data.

Hence, the descriptive evaluative method was adopted.

Population and Local of the study

Table 1 presents the frequency and percentage of the number

of families, Labor force, Households, and unemployed residents of

Barangay Barangobong, Sta. Lucia Ilocos Sur. The study will be

conducted at the said barangay. The said barangay has a total

population of One Thousand One Hundred Twenty Four (1124) which

comprised of; male (575), and female (549). This area is chosen

because katarungang Pambarangay is implemented by the local

government officials.

Table 1

Frequency and percentage of the resident of Barangay Barangobong

Resident Total Sample Size Percentage (%)


Total No. of 986 285 81.69


Total No. of 221 142 18.31


Total 1207 397 100

Data gathering tools

The data needed in this study will be gathered through the

use of a survey questionnaire.

The questionnaire is composed of three (3) consecutive parts.

The first part assesses what are the dominant cases being filed in

the Barangay. Meanwhile, the second part evaluates what are the

problems encountered during the implementation of the Barangay

Justice System and the last part determines what are the proposed
strategies in order to address such problems during its


Data gathering procedure

The data gathering will be done according to the following


The researchers will first secure permit from the barangay

officials to allow the researcher to float questionnaire to the

residents or what do we call respondents. The researchers will be

presenting it to their instructor for further suggestion

clarification or other question or improvement.

Treatment of the Data

The data gathering will be automatically treated and analyzed

to come with reliable result. The statistical used in this study


Frequency and percentage will be used to describe the

compliance to produce in terms of; receiving complaints; conduct

of conciliation, settlement of awards and execution, in Barangay

Barangobong, Sta. Lucia Ilocos Sur.

Descriptions of the Case Types

The types of cases were classified into criminal and civil

only. Table 1 presents the number of criminal cases filed at the

barangay. Based on the gathered data, there were 4 recorded

criminal cases in Brgy. Barangobong.

The table shows that the dominant criminal case is

trespassing. It happens when one person enters onto the land of

another without permission or the legal right to be there.

Depending on the circumstances and the law in place where the act

occurs, trespassing may be considered a crime, a civil wrong

(called a "tort"), or both. For example, a trespasser who steals

something from the homeowner's property may be guilty of the crime

of burglary. Alternatively, if a trespasser breaks something on

the homeowner's property, the homeowner may sue the trespasser

under tort law. Curiously, though, even trespassers sometimes may

file injury claims against property owners.

Table 1. Criminal Cases filed in Barangay Barangobong

Types Frequency Percentage

Trespassing 2 50.0
Physical Injury 1 25.0
Damage to property 1 25.0
TOTAL 4 100
Other criminal cases filed includes physical injury and

damage to property.

The number of civil cases filed in Barangay Barangobong is

presented in Table 2.

The table shows that the only and dominant civil case filed

in Barangay Barangobong is lending or the collection of debts.

Legally, it somehow falls in Small Claims Case. The Rule on Small

Claims was designed to provide a simple, inexpensive, and speedy

disposition of cases involving pure money claims. A system that

will help the people especially those who are less in life. As the

saying goes, “Those who have less in life should have more in law.

And in the implementation of the small claims rule, that saying

become a reality. Truly, the rule on small claims is a breakthrough

compared to any rule of procedure known and that can be found in

the Rules of Court. The disposition of cases under the small claims

rule is really fast. From filing of case to the rendition of

judgment takes up only one to three months. In the end, the small

claim rules help in the decongestion of our courts.

Table 2. Civil case filed in Barangay Barangobong

Types Frequency Percentage

Small Claims Case 137 100.00

TOTAL 137 100

Problems Encountered: The problems encountered by the “lupong-

tagapamayapa” in the administration of the barangay justice system

are presented in Table 3.

Table 3. Problems encountered during the implementation of the

Barangay Justice System in Barangay Barangobong, Sta. Lucia,

Ilocos Sur.

Problems Encountered Frequency Percentage

Non-compliance of the 4 11.43

respondent regarding
the summon

Failure to track or 4 11.43

contact the

Inadequate fund 9 25.71

Unidentified 2 5.71
Absence of some 10 28.57
Barangay officials

Disorganized records 6 17.14


TOTAL 35 100

Based on the gathered data the primary problem encountered by

the Barangay Barangobong in the administration of their Barangay

Justice System is the absence of some barangay officials during

the filing of cases which results to a slower proceedings of the

cases. This is followed by the inadequate fund support.

Other problems encountered includes the disorganized records

system, non-compliance of the respondent regarding the summon,

failure to track or contact the respondent and lastly is the

failure of the identifying the respondents.

Proposed Strategies to Improve the Barangay Justice System: The

proposed strategies which can be adopted by the barangay justice

system of Barangobong related to their encountered problems are

presented in Table 4.

Table 4. Proposed Strategies to improve the Barangay Justice System

of Barangay Barangobong, Sta. Lucia, Ilocos Sur.

Strategies Brief Description

1. Conduct trainings and seminars The punong barangay may coordinate

for the Lupon. with the Department of Interior and

Local Government for the possible

trainings for the lupon.

2. Work collaboratively with the The lupon, through the kagawad in

Barangay officials regarding charge of peace and order, may

the funds and other supporting request for additional support from

services for the BJS. the barangay for the implementation

of the barangay justice system.

3. Conduct Barangay Justice System The punong barangay or a lupon

information dissemination member may disseminate important

during the barangay assembly information regarding the barangay

justice system during the barangay


4. Use precautionary measures to Monitor the peace and order

limit unwanted acts situation in the barangay with the

help of the barangay police.

The Barangay Justice System of Barangay Barangobong may adapt

the following strategies in order to improve their BJS. Conduct

trainings for the Lupon, Work collaboratively with the Barangay

officials regarding the funds and other supporting services for

the BJS, Conduct Barangay Justice System information dissemination

during the barangay assembly, and use precautionary measures to

limit unwanted acts.

In the study of Rojo, 2002 training programs for the officials

must be conducted to enhance the Barangay Justice System of

Barangay Barangobong because the BJS appears as an acceptable

mechanism to the poor because, apart from being an

institutionalized system mandated and enforceable by law, it is

localized in the community and administered by local officials,

who, despite their political status, are considered to be more

understanding of community needs and values than formal judges. It

is also an informal system aimed at an amicable settling of

emerging disputes, instead of at adjudicating in concordance with

standardized provisions established by law. Disputes are addressed

in a comprehensive way, where other factors beyond the strict

provision of the law are taken into account. Although this

individualization of justice may reveal certain limitations,

people feel more satisfied with flexible processes in which they

are allowed to negotiate and confront their disputes, making them

responsible for the final outcome.


The BJS initiative is providing a different and more

accessible channel for poor people to realize their right to

resolve their disputes at the community level. The limitations and

operational gaps should not darken the positive impacts that the

system is having on the overall progress in the administration of

justice in the Philippines. Therefore, and answering to the core

question of this paper, the BJS can be considered an effective

alternative to improve access to justice, particularly for the

poor who are usually the most affected by the deficiencies of the

formal judicial system. However, there are various operational

problems that must be overcome in order to improve its

effectiveness, and thus its responsiveness to the poor.


Since the law does not include any provision on education

programmes, greater efforts shall be put in place to develop

efficient information dissemination campaigns to improve the

knowledge and appreciation of the BJS. Civil society organizations

can contribute to this goal with their networks and mobilizing

expertise, especially to reach the poor and disadvantaged sectors.

This is an extremely important action since the success of any

development project depends on the sustained participation of

community residents as active stakeholders (GRF, Dalan sa Kalinaw

Mindanaw, 2000). For this purpose, extensive public information

campaigns shall be conducted, focusing on legal and civic education

as ways to increase citizens’ information about their rights to

better government and about how public services are supposed to

work, enabling them to monitor and watch over barangay officials.

Similarly, the GRF initiative of training Barangay Justice

Advocates (BJAs) can be reinforced as an efficient strategy to

increase community mobilization and awareness of the system. These

local advocates can be selected from existing community leaders of

local organizations, and can help BJS officials in their functions

regarding the administration of justice.

Following the good results achieved by certain policy reforms

in Ceará state, Brazil, local governments and NGOs could also

contribute to the promotion of the BJS by providing prizes for

good performance and public screening methods for new recruits, as

well as by boasting about the program’s successes. All these

strategies would help create a strong sense of recognition of the

BJS and its workers, enhancing the respect and outreach of the


Moreover, it is important to de-politicise the BJS by

introducing a remarkable process of merit hiring for the Punong,

Lupon members and Lupon Secretary. In the Philippines, as in many

other developing countries where clientelism is the basis of social

and political life, good public managers who attempt to use merit

as a criterion for hiring will have to overcome numerous obstacles.

The merit-hiring process should take into consideration the

commitment of applicants to improve community peace and their sense

of ‘public good’, rather than their educational level, since

education is something that the job can provide as a reward for

those who have been “chosen.”

Hence, it is an essential factor to professionalize the system

and guarantee a sustained high quality training of neutrals

(mediators and conciliators), in order to improve satisfaction

with service quality. Similarly, the recognition and respect

attributed to the program and its workers will contribute to a

stronger commitment and better performance. Complete knowledge of

the law and the BJS, and skills in dispute settlement procedures

are perceived as key training issues to attain qualified paralegals

at the Barangay level. In addition, law students should be

stimulated, and even required, to provide legal training to the

BJAs and BJS officials and to assist them in the execution of BJS


Therefore, the Lupon could still be composed of respected

people in the community, but it should not participate in the

conciliation panel, which could be eventually integrated by BJAs

and law students. This would give the settling process more

independence and neutrality, whilst the Lupon members would have

more legitimacy to “exercise supervision over the conciliation

panels.” If this is achieved, trust and confidence in the system

will increase, and consequently, complainants will reconsider

elevating complicated cases to higher courts.


Basabas, Ocampo, S. Phillipine Local Governments: Toward Local Autonomy

and Decentralization in Politics and Governance: Theory and Practice in
the Philippine Context, Department of Political Science, Ateneo de Manila
University, 2015, pp.117- 157

Hughes, Michael (2001) Access to Justice and Legal Process: Making Legal
Institutions Responsive To Poor People in LDCs, The British Institute
of International and Comparative Law, 2001

Koowel, Alfredo (2010). The Fair Cost of Justice, Excerpts from

Dissertation delivered by Chairman Alfredo Benipayo, Commission on
Elections (former Court Administrator, Supreme Court of the
Philippines), in PHILJA Judicial Journal, Vol.3, Issue No 10, October-
December 2001

Polka, A.C. (2011). Local Autonomy and Administration of Justice: A

Framework for Integration. Prepared by Ateneo School of Government for
the Supreme Court-United Nations Development Programme Technical
Assistance to the Philippine Judiciary on the Justice and Development
Project, January 2000

Soriano, A.T. (2012) A Comparative Assessment of Community Justice

Systems in the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. A Master’s Thesis,
University of Massachussets, Boston, 2000

World Bank (2010) The Role of Mediation in Judicial Reform: The

Philippine Experience, Typescript, 2000