TRO stops Hanapi from sitting in Council to replace Musa PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 17 August 2016 14:00

By BHONG SIMBAJON

A Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) from the court prevented Tungkuh Hanapi,  the newly appointed Indigenous Peoples Mandated Representative (IPMR) in the City Council, from taking a seat as member of the legislative body.

The TRO settled with finality after more almost an hour of heated debate among the members of the Council during their regular session, having different positions and opinions with regard to the status of both IP representatives Ismael Musa and Hanapi.

Councilors Rudy Lim and Charlie Mariano stood pat in preventing the members of the council from deliberating the merits and disposition of their fellow member Musa, citing the provisions of the TRO and in order to prevent the court from citing the august body with contempt by way of anticipating or predicting future court decisions on the fate of their colleague.

Councilor Kim Elago said they should stick to the decision of the NCIP Regional Office and recognize legally the designation of the genuine IPMR based on the documents as to who possess the Certificate of Affirmation (COA) from the NCIP and the Certificate of Recognition (COR) from the DILG office, thus declaring the legality of the representation of such member.

However, presiding officer Vice-Mayor Cesar Iturralde disclosed that the august body should take into account the higher leadership of the NCIP from its national office which can be of great influence to the decision of its regional office.

Stressing that he does not want the City Council to be tainted with political color Iturralde ruled that the body should let the two contesting IP representatives explore all legal avenues to determine their genuine representation in the council representing the indigenous people of Zamboanga City.

Recall that the contested and present IPMR representative Ismael Musa filed a petition with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) 9th Judicial Region, Branch 12 of Zamboanga City seeking to nullify the Certificate of Affirmation and Certificate of Recognition of Tungkuh Hanapi. He asked the court for a TRO and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction and Mandamus to stop Hanapi from assuming as council member while the case is pending.

The court ruled that the application for the issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Injunction by Musa appeared to be sufficient in form and in substance, thus a hearing has been scheduled for the case.

In the meantime, appearing from the facts shown on the same verified complaint filed by Musa on August 11,2016 and the arguments presented by the parties through their respective counsels during the summary hearing of the application for a temporary restraining order held before the court on August 12,2016, that the great and irreparable injury may and could result to plaintiff, if defendants are not immediately restrained from acting the Certificate of Affirmation (COA) dated August 1,2016 issued by Timuey Woy Lim Wong, NCIP Regional Office 9 director, as well as the Certificate of Recognition (COR) issued to Hanapi by DILG City Director Moh. Taha Arakama on August 2,2016, and for the assumption of Hanapi as the replacement of Musa as Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) to the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Zamboanga city.

Thus, Musa by reason thereof, although not necessarily implying that he herein is or may be indeed be entitled to the relief’s being prayed for in his complaint, thus, a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) was issued, enjoining the defendants, from acting on the subject COA and COR and for Tungkuh Hanapi from assuming as the IPMR of the city council effective for a period of not more than 20 days or until such order is earlier lifted or revoked by the court.

“I was vindicated. What I wanted is just for my colleagues and NCIP Regional Office to follow the law and let us wait for the final decision from NCIP Manila. Why are they so in a hurry to decide and kick me out of the city council? This is political harassment!” Musa told newsmen in an ambush interview after the session.

Musa said that he is willing to step down if so decided officially by NCIP Manila and not by those local offices and local political critics whom he described as “monsters” in his political career. — Bhong Simbajon/RMN News