Decision on Dinagat upheld

The Supreme Court has upheld its earlier decision that nullified for being unconstitutional a law creating the province of Dinagat Islands and voided the election of its provincial officials during the 2007 polls.

In a resolution penned by Associate Justice Diosdado M. Peralta, the High Court threw out the motions for reconsideration separately filed by the Office of the Solicitor-General and Gov. Geraldine Ecleo Villaroman, representing the province of Dinagat Islands.

It held that the arguments raised in the motions have already been passed upon in the court's Feb. 10, 2010 decision nullifying Republic Act 9355, otherwise known as An Act Creating the Province of Dinagat Islands.

The SC maintained that the creation of Dinagat Islands failed to comply with the requirements of population and land area for it to become a separate province.

Dinagat Islands is located northeast of Mindanao and on the south side of Leyte Gulf. Until its creation as a province in December 2006, it was part of the province of Surigao del Norte.

The court, in its February decision, said Dinagat Islands failed to comply with the land area requirement of 2,000 square kilometers, considering that RA 9355 expressly states that the province only ''contains an approximate land area of 802.12 sq. km.''

The province, the court added, failed to comply with the population requirement of not less than 250,000 inhabitants as certified by the National Statistics Office (NSO). (MB)

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