BAGUIO CITY – Docketed as L-2019-10-876, recently installed Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) of the Municipality of Sadanga, Jimmy Galingan, sought for the preventive suspension of the Sadanga Municipal Council led by Mayor Gabino Ganggangan following the resolution barring the former to assume his post as IPMR.
Left with no recourse, Galingan filed his complaint against the erring Municipal Council led by Ganggangan on October 16, 2019 at the Office on the Ombudsman. He cited, among others that the Municipal Council led by Ganggangan, has utter disregard to the mandates of the Law and the rules and regulations, and legal orders promulgated by the duly constituted authorities.
Underscoring on their oath which they took before they assumed in the Sanggunian, Galingan stated that, “the passage of the of the Sangguniang Bayan resolution, … confirmed by the Mayor … is an utter disregard of the laws and legal orders which is contrary to what was solemnly sworn during their oath of office.”
According to the complaint submitted by Galigang, he stressed that the acts of the Municipal Council preventing the IPMR to exercise his mandate is unreasonable, unfair, oppressive and discriminatory. He further opined that the contentions of the Municipal Council saying that the IPMR is no longer necessary inside a legislative district which is predominantly occupied by IPs, does not hold water and is grounded squarely on self-vested interest.
“The ultimate objective of the Municipal Council led by Ganggangan is to prevent the duly selected IPRM from exercising his mandate as provided for by law. They are questioning his being an IPMR to the Sangguniang Bayan yet they do not question the assumption of other IPMRs within the Municipality.… there are other IPMRs serving at the Barangays within the Municipality of Sadanga yet the respondents choose only to prevent the complainant from assuming and performing his mandate as IPMR…,” stated the complaint.
Galingan’s complaint further disclosed that his supposed assumption of office, if not barred by the Municipal Council, will be his second term as IPMR wherein his first term was not contested by the former Municipal Council. Two of the respondents and current councilors namely, Juliet Chinalpan and Rufino Chakiwag were members of the Municipal Council of Sadanga from 2016 to 2019.
“Why is it only now that they are challenging the IPMR in the Sangguniang wherein they could have done the same during their former tenure as councilors. This would only show that there is a resounding self-vested interest in preventing me to sit as IPMR.”, said Galingan.
It can be recalled that on August 5, 2019, Sadanga LGU, crafted and signed Sangguniang Bayan Resolution No. 45, Series of 2019, challenging the applicability of representation of the IPMR to the Sangguniang Bayan and declaring Municipal Council’s official stand not to accept or recognize Galingan in the municipal council of Sadanga, Mountain Province. Thus, prohibiting Galingan to function as the duly selected IPMR of the Municipality.
Subsequently, on August 19, 2019, after having knowledge of the said resolution, the office of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples – Cordillera Administrative Region (NCIP-CAR), issued a notice of warning citing possible criminal, civil and administrative charges against the Municipal Council of Sadanga led by Ganggangan. Such charges would be necessary in order to uphold and protect the rights and interest of the indigenous peoples (IPs).
The notice from NCIP-CAR likewise clarified issues and legal questions cited in the Municipal resolution.
Following the notice, on September 5, 2019, the office of the Department of Interior and City Government – Cordillera Administrative Region (DILG-CAR, issued an advisory to all City Elective Officials (LCE) to “…strictly observe the mandate of Republic Act No. 8371, specifically, ICC/IP mandatory representation in the city Sanggunian, in accordance with the National Guidelines for the Mandatory Representation of Indigenous Peoples in City Legislative Council…”
However, despite the said notice and advisory by NCIP and DILG, the Sadanga Municipal Council, filed for a petition for Declaratory Relief before the Regional Trail Court (RTC) on October 10, 2019 with prayer for injunction against the NCIP, thus prompting Galingan to file the case before the Ombudsman.
By Rocky Ngalob