THE SUPREME Court (SC) affirmed the dismissal of the petition challenging the 2.5-hectare ancestral land awarded to the Ati indigenous community in Boracay, Malay.
In a seven-page resolution, the SC’s first division upheld the 2015 decision of the Court of Appeals (CA), which dismissed the petition of two private complainants based on wrong venue. The case stemmed from the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) awarded by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to the Ati community in Barangay Manoc-manoc.
The private complainants questioned the award before a Regional Trial Court in Kalibo, which maintained that it has jurisdiction over the case despite the contention of the community.
The NCIP and the community elevated the case to the CA, which dismissed it for lack of jurisdiction.
The CA said the private complainants should have filed for the cancellation of the award to the NCIP.
While the SC upheld that the regional trial court committed grave abuse of discretion in taking up the case, it said that the NCIP has primary jurisdiction to resolve claims over ancestral lands.
The high court also said the petitioners should have appealed the NCIP Resolution straight to the CA. “The records show that no such appeal was taken.
It would then appear that what the complaint subsequently filed was an attempt to revive a lost appeal, which cannot be countenanced,” the resolution read.
Via | Vann Marlo M. Villegas