It is 2020. You were offended for some reason or felt your rights are violated, or someone looked funny at you. What is your knee-jerk reaction? Is it to call your lawyer to enforce your rights or to prevent the other person from continuing with his offensive acts? Is it to call the police or other law enforcement agencies to arrest that annoying individual? Or choose the easiest and cheapest option of posting your grievance in any of the multitudes of social media applications available to everyone?
Of course, everyone with a social media account would know that the go-to solution for any problem is to post the other person or the problem to our social media accounts, with the intention of “pasikatin” the other person into submission. Think mob lynching in the 21st century.
This go-to remedy had replaced the need for lawyers and law enforcement agencies. Why go to a lengthy, expensive, and arduous legal battle when you can just “cancel” the other person?
Vigilante Justice: Social Media Style
Of course, some people also fed on this need for an instant solution and found a new niche for themselves, the king of vigilante justice: social media style. A short visit to any comment section would show hundreds upon hundreds of comments tagging and hashtagging #RaffyTulfoInAction, which of course pertains to Mr. Raffy Tulfo’s sensational television show and youtube channel.
The fear of being put on the show has transcended the fear of being sued in the court of law. Netizens would use the threat of “ipapa-Tulfo kita” rather than “ipapakulong kita”, which, not surprisingly, works.
In this particular show, the protagonist, Mr. Raffy Tulfo, would help the poor and the downtrodden with their problems, usually by inviting to the show the other party or a government agency official, to discuss the issue. These discussions would inevitably be resolved through settlement in two ways: Either the parties accept the wisdom of Mr. Tulfo or if the other party would not accept his learned opinion on legal matters, get browbeat and bullied to submission.
Ultimately, the matter is resolved and the complainant rides into the sunset and goes home happy.
Of course, after the show ends, real life continues.
The Complainant, who Mr. Tulfo helped, must now wait whether the other party complies with the agreed terms of the settlement.
The complained party must choose whether to honor the terms or to risk being called into the show again.
Lastly, the staff of the show would post the video on YouTube, where it would earn a nifty amount of coin, which according to some websites is around P3,270,000.00 to Php50,000,000.00 per month.
The Aftermath Part Deux
Ultimately, with regards to the parties, the matter is not actually resolved.
The Complainant must wait whether the opposing party would honor any settlement reached through the show and if the opposing party would not, then the former would be constrained to ultimately go to courts to protect or enforce his rights.
Verily, no matter how famous, powerful, or influential any person gets, the power to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government still resides in the Supreme Court and any lower courts established by law.
Frankly, any settlement made through any show, especially if duress was involved, would be hard or near impossible to impose. It is only upon the decision of the courts that parties may be bound to comply with such decision or resolution lest they suffer punishment from the Courts.
Should I go?
My neighbor is an asshole, should I go to Mr. Tulfo for help?
Well, you are within your rights to do so but do remember that the attendance of your neighbor to the show is purely voluntary on his part, and even if he attends, whatever settlement you reach may ultimately be set aside.
What should I do then?
First, ask a lawyer to discuss your rights on the matter. Before you say expensive, please know that your Local Government Units have legal departments that are equipped to assist you, as well as our hardworking Public Attorney’s Office. These lawyers would not charge you a cent for their help, but do not discount their abilities because they are probably some of the best lawyers in our country.
You can also send a message here in email@example.com and we would try to discuss your options. Coffee is highly appreciated
Second, most likely you would be referred to a Barangay Conciliation Proceedings, wherein you and your neighbor can air out your differences and find a way to settle the matter before filing any case in court.
Third, if no settlement is reached, you can go back to your Public Attorney’s Office and ask their help in filing the case.
My neighbor thinks I’m an asshole, should I attend the invitation made by Mr. Tulfo?
The short answer is “No”. The long answer is “Are you out of your mind? Of course not!”
Remember, no private individual has the right to compel you to take part in the said show, and there is no logical reason for you to discuss the matter there.
But he may help me settle the matter
Again, if you are inclined to end the matter as soon as possible, the best thing to do is to talk to the other party and try to reach an agreement. This can be done without the show.
Because in the event that you cannot reach an agreement, you may end up saying a lot of things in that show that can be used against you.
What should I do then?
Same answer with your neighbor. Consult a lawyer.
PXXXT is willing to help
If you have any legal questions, you can send it to our website and our network of lawyers would try to help you.
Atty. Erick Michael Cordero is the Chief Legal Officer of PolitiXXX Today.