Let’s say you and your husband want to go to the barangay to execute an agreement that you will live separately; that you get to keep your residential house; and that he will give you Php 5,000 every month as a support to your son. In return, you agree not to file a case of concubinage against him and his mistress.
Is the agreement in the Barangay valid and can be considered legal separation?
Our law is clear: The agreement in the barangay is not valid because the latter has no jurisdiction to hear the subject matter.
Section 2035 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines provides that NO compromise shall be made on the following:
- Civil status of the persons
- The validity of a marriage of legal separation
- Future support
- The jurisdiction of the court
- Future legitime (inheritance)
What you are agreeing covers the prohibition above, hence, the same is not valid.
What disputes may be brought to the barangay for an amicable settlement then? Can I file a case for domestic violence?
You can bring ALL disputes to the barangay as long as you comply with the condition and it does not fall on any of the exceptions.
CONDITION: You and the other party must be living in the same city or municipality.
EXCEPTIONS: The barangay will not hear the following cases:
1. Where one party is the government or any subdivision or instrumentality thereof;
2. Where one party is a public officer or employee, and the dispute relates to the performance of his official functions;
3. Where the dispute involves real properties located in different cities and municipalities unless the parties thereto agree to submit their difference to amicable settlement by an appropriate Lupon;
4. Any complaint by or against corporations, partnership or juridical entities, since only individuals shall be parties to Barangay conciliation proceedings either as complainants or respondents;
5. Disputes involving parties who actually reside in barangays of different cities or municipalities, except where such barangay units adjoin each other and the parties thereto agree to submit their differences to amicable settlement by an appropriate Lupon;
6. Offenses for which the law prescribes a maximum penalty of imprisonment exceeding one (1) year or a fine over five thousand pesos (Php 5,000.00);
7. Offenses where there is no private offended party;
8. Disputes where urgent legal action is necessary to prevent injustice from being committed or further continued, specifically the following:
a. Criminal cases where accused is under police custody or detention;
b. Petitions for habeas corpus by a person illegally deprived of his rightful custody over another or a person illegally deprived or on acting in his behalf;
c. Actions coupled with provisional remedies such as preliminary injunction, attachment, delivery of personal property and support during the pendency of the action; and
d. Actions which may be barred by the Statute of Limitations (meaning the action to file the case has prescribed).
9. Any class of disputes which the President may determine in the interest of justice or upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Justice;
10. Where the dispute arises from the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) (Sec. 46 & 47, R.A. 6657);
11. Labor disputes or controversies arising from employer-employee relations (Montoya vs. Escayo, et al., 171 SCRA 442; Art. 226, Labor Code, as amended, which grants original and exclusive jurisdiction over conciliation and mediation of disputes, grievances or problems to certain offices of the Department of Labor and Employment);
12. Actions to annul judgment upon a compromise which may be filed directly in court (See Sanchez vs. Tupaz, 158 SCRA 459).
Given the condition in item #6 above, you have to identify what type of domestic violence was committed to you and what is the corresponding penalty of the offense under the Revised Penal Code.
For example, serious physical injury has a penalty ranging from prison mayor or lower depending on circumstances. The duration of prison mayor is six years and one day to twelve years. If your case falls under this type of serious physical injury, the barangay will not accept your case because the penalty exceeds one year.
On the other hand, if the offense committed is less serious physical injury which has a penalty of aresto mayor (one month and one day to six months), or slight physical injury which has a penalty of aresto menor (one day to 30 days), the barangay will accept your case as it falls within its jurisdiction.
You have to remember that what the barangay will do is only to conduct alternative dispute resolution such as mediation, conciliation, and arbitration so that both of you will come up with an amicable settlement, thus, preventing the filing of a case in court which is costly and takes a longer time to settle your issue.
The barangay will not order the imprisonment of one party.
Please note further that except in cases provided under Art.412 (b) of RA 7160, no parties can file a case in court unless a Certification to File Action (CFA) was issued by the barangay.
The certification shall be issued if conciliation or settlement has not been reached despite confrontation of the parties.
Go back to the main article: How to File Legal Separation in the Philippines: An Ultimate Guide