CA affirms court dismissal of Musa’s case vs Itu, Taha PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 11 December 2017 17:19

The 21st Division of the Court of Appeals has affirmed the October 10, 2016 order of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 12, dismissing for want of jurisdiction the case filed by the ousted member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod, Ismael I. Musa, representing the indigenous peoples, against Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde and City-Director Mohammad Taha S. Arakama of the Department of Interior and Local Government.

In his complaint dismissed by RTC-12, Musa sought for declaration of nullity of the Certificate of Affirmation and Certificate of Recognition of (his replacement) Tungkuh B. Hanapi with Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction and Mandamus in Civil Case No. 6841.

Aggrieved, Musa appealed before the Court of Appeals, 21st Division, claiming that the Trial Court committed errors in dismissing his complaint.

In its 10-page decision penned by Associate Justice Ruben Reynaldo G. Roxas and concurred by Associate Justices Romulo V. Boria and Oscar V. Badelles, the Court found no error in the trial court’s dismissal of (Musa’s) complaint for want of jurisdiction.

The Court said the complaint for Declaration of Nullity of the Certificate of Affirmation and Certificate of Recognition of Tungkuh B. Hanapi is within the jurisdiction of the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP).

In the case at bar, the Court further ruled that appellant Musa was without dispute the representative of the Zamboanga City Council, who was removed by the Zamboanga City Indigenous People Council of Elders (ZCIPCL) for loss of trust and confidence after he joined a political party, the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino, a violation of an existing customary.

Records of the case showed that Regional Director Timuey Woy Lim P. Wong of NCIP Region 9 affirmed the decision of the council of elders/leaders recalling Musa as the Indigenous People Mandatory Representative (IPMR) of the Zamboanga City Council as well as his declaration that his Certificate of Affirmation is automatically cancelled by reason of his recall/removal.

When the IPMR was declared vacant by the NCIP Region 9, the NCIP-City Office and the office of the appellee (Arakama) supervised the selection process for a new IPMR, which resulted in the issuance of a Certificate of Affirmation to Hanapi.

“There is no gainsaying that Musa’s removal or recall as IPMR in the Zamboanga City Council is within the competence of the NCIP Region 9… Thus, the jurisdiction over the main cause of action, as to who between Musa and Hanapi has the legal rights to hold office or assume as the IP’s representative and sit as the sectoral representative of the IP in the Sangguniang Panlungsod properly falls under the exclusive an original jurisdiction of the NCIP,” the CA ruled in its decision dated Nov. 24, 2017 certified by Associate Justice Boria, chairperson of the 21st Division.  (City Hall PR)