DOJ exec: New rules on mediation to reduce number of cases in court

TO ENSURE effective implementation of the revised rules on mediation of the National Prosecution Service (NPS), prosecutors and private mediators will undergo training in resolving cases like estafa, theft and criminal negligence, among others.

Around 70 city prosecutors and private mediators will join the 40-hour internship program starting on Sept. 16, 2019 at the Office of the City Prosecutor.

Mediation, an undertaking of the Office for the Alternative Dispute Resolution (OADR) of the Department of Justice, aims to declog the dockets in the NPS, particularly cases of estafa, violation of the bouncing checks law or Batas Pambansa (BP) 22, simple theft, qualified theft and criminal negligence resulting to damage to property.

Justice Undersecretary Mark Perete said mediation helps deliver “prompt and efficient solutions to problems.”

“Imagine the time spent and the resources used to win those cases in court. It also shows how litigious we are as a society and how displaced certain priorities are and we hope that this project will help correct that,” he said.

State Counsel Bernadette Ongoco, OADR Executive Director, believes that mediation helps restore the relationship of the concerned parties.

Previously, cases with penalty of six years and below were subject for mediation.

Based on the revised rules, mediation now covers only five cases.

The civil aspect of criminal complaints for estafa, violation of BP 22, simple theft, qualified theft and criminal negligence resulting to damage to property involving an amount not exceeding P200,000 shall undergo mandatory mediation.

If the amount involved in a complaint exceeds P200,000, the provisions on voluntary mediation will apply.

A successfully mediated grievance will result in its provisional dismissal.

This will become permanent “if no motion to revive the complaint has been filed by any of the parties after the lapse of 15 calendar days from the date of non-compliance or violation of any of the terms and conditions of the Settlement Agreement executed by the parties.”

Among the participants from the private sector is Jay Armero, a teacher.

“After the training, we will be accredited as private mediators, but it is pro bono (unsalaried). It’s more of an advocacy for me. I just want to help the government resolve cases through mediation without going to court because of many pending cases,” he said.


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