Cases versus Baguio IP leaders junked

BAGUIO CITY  – The review committee of the city prosecutor’s office affirmed the resolution of the assigned prosecutor that dismissed the charges of use of falsified documents, perjury and unlawful means of publication and unlawful utterances filed against three elders of indigenous peoples (IPs) in the city for lack of probable cause.

In a 4-page joint resolution, the committee stated that the charges filed by embattled city Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (Roger Sinot against Atty. Manuel Cuilan, Paul A. Pasigon and Joseph A. Sacley have no concrete basis, thus, the absence of probable cause that will merit the filing of the cases against them.

On March 19, 2018, the city prosecutor issued a resolution dismissing the complaints of use of falsified documents, perjury and unlawful use of means of publication and unlawful utterances filed by Sinot against Cuilan, Pasigon and Sacley for lack of probable cause.

However, on April 2, 2018, Sinot filed a motion for reconsideration of the assailed resolution seeking the reversal of the earlier decision and the eventual indictment of the respondents to the aforesaid alleged crimes.

The joint resolution stated that as resolved by the investigating prosecutor, there is no piece of evidence that it was the respondents of the case who submitted the questioned documents to the office of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP-CAR).

“Speculations and conjectures, no matter how probable they may be, cannot take the place of evidence required by law to establish probable cause. Accusations are not synonymous to evidence, thu, from this score alone, the complaint for use of falsified documents must also necessarily fail,” the joint resolution stressed.

The committee also upheld the resolution of the investigating prosecutor which stated that the letter of the respondents informing the local government of the pendency of a case relative to the IPMR is not an initiatory pleading but merely a letter of information of their appeal to the NCIP-CAR and that the City Mayor’s Office is not a court, tribunal or a quasai-judicial office.

Further, the City Mayor’s Office performs executive functions, thus, it executes and enforces the laws enacted by the council.

On the other hand, the committee also claimed that the letter of the respondents to the NCIP Chairman regarding the city’s IPMR is not an in initiatory pleading but also just a letter request for a certain from her and the said letter was not submitted to judicial agencies and that they are simply expressions of concerns or opinions made by the respondents regarding their insights on the controversial selection of the IPMR.

The committed reiterated its previous statement that speculations and conjectures, no matter how probable they may be, cannot take the place of evidence required by law to establish probable cause and that the absence of the elements of unlawful use of means of publication and unlawful utterances, the complaint must necessarily fail like the previous complaints that were filed by Sinot against his fellow IP leaders in the city.

The review committee’s resolution was handed down on April 13, 2018 and was furnished the complainant and the respondents for their information and further needed action.

By HENT

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