BAGUIO CITY – The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) en banc took cognisance of a report on the investigation conducted by the agency on the serious irregularities that were discovered, with the recommendation of cancelling four previously issued resolutions granting certificate of ancestral land titles (CALTs) to the heirs of Josephine M. Abanag, Cosem Piraso and Luaro Carantes for having irregularly issued.
In Resolution No. 06-024-2015, the NCIP cited the apparent irregularities resulting in procedural and substantive defects, constitute fraud that warrants the cancellation of the CALTs that were previously issued.
It added the said irregularities were apparently committed by NCIP officers and employees, thus, before acting on the findings and recommendations, the Commissioned deemed it appropriate to notify the concerned beneficiaries indicated in the report as well as the employees and officers, past or present, who, in one way or another, were involved and participated in the issuance of the questionable resolutions.
Records showed that based on the |Commission on Audit (COA) report, there were three ancestral land title forms that remain unaccounted for, hence, the issuance of Resolution No. 06-086-2014, “Resolution Declaring the Ancestral Land Titles Forms with S.N. Nos. 000302, 000303 and 000304 as Unaccounted Forms and Ordering the Cancellation of the same,” which likewise ordered the constitution of an investigating team to conduct further investigation thereon.
Sometime in 2013, the 16th Congress, on its first regular session, passed House Resolution No. 419 otherwise known as “A Resolution Directing the House of Representatives Committee on Indigenous Peoples to Conduct an Inquiry and/or Investigation in Aid of Legislation on the Blatant Deviation from the Indigenous Concept of Ownership of Ancestral lands/Domains for Which Certificates of Ancestral Land Titles/Ancestral Domain Titles (CALT/CADT) were issued by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.”
As a result of the said inquiry, the NCIP was constrained to attend the hearings and conduct its own investigation to address the issues surrounding the titles subject of the legislative inquiry.
Under the aforesaid resolution, the NCIP has given the beneficiaries, present and past NCIP officers and employees and interested parties a non-extendible period of 15 days to submit their respective comments on the findings before ruling with finality on the pressing issues surrounding the implementation of the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA).
It can be recalled that the city government vehemently opposed the issuance of CALTs to the heirs of Abanag covering portions of Wright Park, Mines view Park and even the Presidential Mansion and the heirs of Lauro Carantes covering a 23-hectare portion of the Forbes Park forest reservation considering that these were fraudulently issued and tainted with irregularity.
The local government questioned the NCIP on why the CALTs over previously declared government properties and forest reservations were issued when it is public knowledge that the areas covered by the CALTs were government properties and watershed since time in memorial, thus, those responsible for such irregular acts must be charged. By Dexter A. See