CA junks petition to reverse RTC ruling on Baguio IPMR

BAGUIO CITY  – The 13th Division of the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition for certiorari filed by embattled city Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) Roger Sinot that sought to assail an order handed down by a local court which granted the application for issuance of writ of preliminary injunction and denying his second motion for reconsideration.

In a 4-page resolution signed by Associate Justices Ramon R. Garcia, Myra B. Garcia-Fernandez and Germano Francisco D. Legaspi, the appellate court ruled that the dismissal of the petition for certiorari for alleged for being filed out of time rendered the case closed and terminated.

Records show that Sinot received on February 6, 2018 a copy of the assailed order dated February 6, 2018 which granted the writ of preliminary injunction prayed by private respondents Gaspar Cayat, Joseph Sacley, Paul B. Pasigon and Atty. Manuel Cuilan who questioned his selection as the city’s IPMR.

During the scheduled hearing on February 23, 2018, neither Sinot nor his counsel appeared and consequently, in an order dated on the same day, the lower court then abandoned Sinot’s motion for reconsideration on the ground of lack of interest to pursue the same.

Sinot received on March 2, 2018 a copy of the order dated February 23, 2018, however, instead of filing the appropriate appeal, he filed a second motion for reconsideration which was eventually denied by the court in an order dated March 21, 2018.

The CA resolved to outrightly dismiss Sinot’s petition for certiorari for having been filed out of time considering that pursuant to Section 4, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, a petition for certiorari must be filed not later than 60 days from notice of the denial of a motion for reconsideration.

The CA noted that per Sinot’s admission, he received on March 2, 2018 the notice of the denial of his first motion for reconsideration and he had until May 1, 2018 within which to file a petition for certiorari but the petition was filed only on May 17, 2018 or 16 days beyond the reglamentary period.

“It must be stressed that a petition for certiorari under Section 1, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is an extraordinary remedy. As such, the party who seeks to avail of the same must strictly observe the rules laid down by law. Additionally, the perfection of an appeal in the manner and within the period permitted by law is mandatory and jurisdictional. The period prescribed to do certain acts must be followed with fealty as they are designed primarily to speed up the final disposition of the case,” the decision stated.

The resolution claimed that such reglamentary periods are indispensable interdiction against needless delays and for an orderly discharge of judicial business and deviation from the rules cannot be tolerated and their observance cannot be left to the whims and caprices of the parties.

The controversy on the selection of the city’s IPMR is still the subject of the necessary mediation upon orders of the court prior to the conduct of the required full blown hearings on the issues that were raised by the petitioners, especially on the alleged exclusion of some IPs in the city from participating in the alleged flawed selection process.

By Dexter A. See

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