Lobregat says court ruling favorable to Ismael Musa PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 22 August 2016 13:58

Congressman Celso Lobregat told newsmen Sunday that the ruling of the Regional Trial Court is favorable to Indigenous People (IP) representative Ismael Musa.

Lobregat said that while the RTC has denied the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and recalled and cancelled the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) earlier issued, the court said that Musa has already appealed for decisionto the NCIP en banc who has the exclusive and original jurisdiction over decisions on the said case.

RTC Branch 12 Judge Gregorio Dela Peña III said in an order issued Friday that “the jurisdiction over the main cause of action herein, that is, as to who among the two of them has the legal rights to hold office or assume as the IP’s representative and thus, shall sit as sectoral representative of the (IP) in Sangguniang Panlungsod falls under the exclusive and original jurisdiction of the NCIP as provided by law. And it was for this reason that the court realizes that it clearly has no jurisdiction over the cause of action and subject matter herein and is consequently compelled to dismiss this case at this point in time on the said ground.”

Furthermore, the court also noted that Musa has claimed that he already perfected his appeal before the NCIP Manila pursuant to the provisions of Section 23 and 24, Rule 9 of the NCIP Revised Rules and Procedures. “Having done so, it is incumbent upon them to exhaust such administrative remedy first before the said quasi-judicial body before the judicial remedies if so available to them, which this specific case, is not even before the second level court like the RTC, but the Court of Appeals,” it said

The order also denied both the plaintiff’s (Musa) prayer for writ of preliminary injunction and the argument against the same raised by the defendants (Vice-Mayor Cesar Iturralde, Moh. Taha Arakama-City DILg and Tungkuh Hanapi) in their respective answers and oppositions, and the oral manifestations made by the defendants during the hearing.

It will be recalled that the Vice-Mayor wrote the NCIP on February 22, 2016, asking for the official legal opinion on the request of Musa for his immediate reinstatement and restoration of all his rights, duties and obligations as a member of the City Council representing the IP.

NCIP regional Director Timuey Woy Lim Wong replied on February 26, 2016:“It is the humble opinion of the undersigned, that since the decision for Ismael Musa’s removal has not yet become final for he was able to file his motion for reconsideration to the NCIP Regional Office, hence the said decision is not yet executory and whatever action implementing the same is considered premature. Moreover, it is also worthy to note that the action/decision of the Regional Director is still correctible and subject to appeal to the highest administrative officer, the NCIP Chairperson who has the administrative supervision over his actions/decisions.”

The NCIP regional office on May 4, 2016 denied the Motion for Reconsideration of Musa but he appealed to the NCIP en banc on May 12, 2016.

The NCIP en banc has not yet rendered its decision as of press time, as such, the decision for the removal of Musa is not yet final.

Lobregat further said referring to the February 26 letter of Director Wong of the NCIP, the last paragraph of said letter states: “in view of the foregoing, it is the humble recommendation of the undersigned that it would be just and appropriate to reinstate Ismael Musa and restore all his rights, obligation and privileges as a member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Zamboanga City pending the finality of the decision for his removal”.

“Why is the regional director all of a sudden said that his order is final and executory pending appeal to the NCIP national office?” Lobregat asked “What kind of animal is this statement made by RD Wong when he himself said in his February 26 letter that that, “it would be just and appropriate to reinstate Ismael Musa and restore all his rights, obligation and privileges as a member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Zamboanga City pending the finality of the decision for his removal”. Lobregat said.

“So it is clear that Councilor Musa still remains the IPMR in the city council until the decision of the case reaches finality and finality will be arrived at when the NCIP en banc decides on the matter which still can be appealed to the Court of Appeals as being indicated in the order of RTC Branch 12,” Lobregat stressed , adding,please stop the continuing  bullying of IPMR Representative Ismael Musa”.

Civil Case No. 6841 filed by Musa against Vice-Mayor Cesar Iturralde and Moha. Taha Arakama – City DILG Director and Tungkuh Hanapi, seeks the declaration of nullity of the Certificate of Affirmation and Certificate of Recognition of Tungkuh Hanapi with Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and/or Writ of Preliminary injunction and Mandamus.

Recalled that the Regional Trial Court ruled “no jurisdiction” over the case of Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) Ismael Musa in earlier motion to seek Temporary Restraining Order to prevented the newly appointed Indigenous Peoples Mandated Representative (IPMR) Tungkuh Hanapi from taking a seat at the Sanggauniang Panlungsod after the NCIP Regional Office issued appointment to Hanapi recently, nullifying Musa’s representation in the same.

In his decision, RTC Branch 12 Judge Gregorio Dela Peña II stated that the complaint of Musa should have been brought to the NCIP en banc for an injunctive relief and should have been likewise brought by them to the said forum who exercises jurisdiction over the same.

On Tuesday (August 23), the Sangguniang Panlungsod is scheduled to again deliberate on the said case of Musa and Hanapi as IPMRs having the recent development in the  cancellation and recall of the court issued TRO.

But Lobregat stated that the ruling of the RTC is favorable to Councilor Musa. — Dexter Yap