Jhonel M. Añavesa
Responsive to the continuing global search for indigenous mediation structures capable of resolving disputes within a community and beyond the formal courts of justice, the Philippine government in the year 1978, through Pres. Ferdinand Marcos, issued PD 1508 establishing a system of amicably settling disputes at the barangay Level called the “Katarungang Pambarangay Law”. Within the span of more than 10 years, PD 1508 has been working well. But when RA 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991 was finally signed into law, PD 1508 was amended and subsequently, the administration and operation of the Katarungang Pambarangay was governed under Chapter 7, Title One, Book III of the said code. Republic Act 7160 expanded the scope and powers of the Katarungang Pambarangay or the Barangay Justice System (BJS) designed not merely to decongest the courts of cases but to address inequalities in access to justice, particularly experienced by marginalized communities. Now that the law has been intensified and has expanded in its scope for about 20 years, the question still remains - Does it really achieve its objectives towards the speedy administration of justice in the country? To fully understand this objective, this paper (which is divided into four major parts) will try to dissect the mechanisms involved in this subject under study. Part 1 provides the nature and dynamics of the Katarungang Pambarangay based on the following areas: (a) organizational aspect; (b) jurisdictional aspect; and (c) procedural aspect, while Part 2 will examine the position of the Katarungang Pambarangay (KP) Law in the context of the Philippine Judicial System through scrutinizing the following: (a) the nature and structure of the Philippine Judicial System; and (b) the state of justice and case disposition in the Philippines. Part 3 will...