Court issues injunction against Baguio IPMR
The city’s Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 6 Tuesday granted the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction against Roger Sinot preventing him from sitting as the Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) after finding merit in the petitions filed against his qualifications and the alleged flawed selection process that resulted to his being chosen as the IPMR.
In a 5-page order, Judge Cecilia Corazon Dulay-Archog stated that after a thorough appreciation of the position papers submitted and the testimonies of the witnesses presented, she granted the application for preliminary injunction of the petitioners as manifested their right to the said issuance.
Further, the court added that the local government also showed clear and convincing evidence to support the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction.
“There was indication that there was an invasion of their rights sought to be protected by the injunctive right, otherwise, immediate irreparable damage will be committed. It is not disputed that a protest questioning the qualifications of respondent Sinot to represent the indigenous peoples of Baguio City is still pending final resolution before the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples. It must be understood that the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction is discretionary with the court,” Judge Archog stated in her order.
She added the court, in the exercise of its sound discretion, deems it best to issue a preliminary injunction so as not to render moot and academic, the issues on the qualifications and selection of Sinot which will yet be finally resolved by the NCIP.
During the pendency of the case, the writ of preliminary injunction restrained Sinot from assuming or exercising authority as IPMR in the City Council; the city government from committing any act that would recognize Sinot as IPMR in the local legislative body and the local government from appropriating any budget for the salary of Sinot and of the IPMR office.
Petitioners Gaspar Cayat and Joseph Sackley testified before the court on the alleged irregularities in the selection process of the IPMR to the local legislative body and the reported exclusion of other tribes in the selection process.
Cayat is a member of the Kalanguya tribe in the city while Sackley is a holder of a certificate of ancestral land title over his property in Happy Hallow barangay and that he belongs to the Kankanaey tribe.
The petitioners argued that they have a clear and legal right to avail of the relief being prayed for and an injunctive relief may be issued against Sinot from assuming or exercising authority as IPMR or member of the local legislative body and the city government from committing any act that would recognize Sinot as IPMR or member of the council and from appropriating any budget for Sinot’s salary and for the IPMR office.
The court referred the two cases filed by the petitioners and the local government against Sinot with the Philippine Mediation Center for the court annexed mediation (CAM) on February 20, 2018. In case mediation fails, the court added that the records should be forwarded to the RTC Clerk of Court for a re-raffle for purposes of holding the judicial dispute resolution at another branch of the court.
By Dexter A. See
Refer to Dexter A. See