Tuba indigenous group court wars continue-A A +A
Thursday, September 27, 2012
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Legal battles of the Indigenous Peoples Organization of Alang, Pukis, Sabian, Sta. Fe, Oliba and Luacan (IPO-APSSOL) continue.
Judge Jennifer Humiding dismissed the case filed by Adam Ventura asking for declaratory relief in the battle against Minda Bantasan.
Ventura filed the case in May in the heat of an election declaring Bantasan as president of the IP group which he leads.
Previously, Regional Trial Court Executive Judge Danilo Camacho granted the injunction sought by Ventura, keeping him in power as well as the other officers of the group.
Lawyer for the Bantasan group, Simpson Baldo, then filed a motion to dismiss the case, which Humiding granted Wednesday morning.
The court turned over jurisdiction to the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples. Ventura will have to resolve the matter in the IP body if he opts to or file another motion for reconsideration in the local courts.
Mediation efforts failed in July when the courts tried to settle the rift between Ventura and Bantasan, leading to the decision of Camacho.
IPO-APSSOL is the indigenous people’s organization recognized by the NCIP to represent the affected indigenous peoples and indigenous cultural communities in the payment of the 1.25 percent royalty being paid by the Philex Mining Corporation to its host and neighboring communities.
There are over 80 million worth of royalties a month the IP group receives from the mining firm, which has rattled the membership and officers with controversy, the group now has a three way tug of war in officership.
Recently, the NCIP revoked the registration of the IP group, but officers and members decried a lack of due process in the decision while no formal papers for the alleged revocation has likewise been presented by the NCIP.
The decision has allegedly unified the three groups struggling for leadership within the IP group but as the members and officers try to come together, legal battles are ongoing in the local courts.
There are two other cases files against Ventura, both for estafa and falsification of records stemming from members of the IP groups who alleged they received lower shares for royalty payments than what is reflected in official papers of the group. Complainants also alleged records have been falsified.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 27, 2012.