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Dinagat Islands officials ask SC to reverse ruling

Officials of Surigao del Norte on Tuesday said they are set to ask the Supreme Court again to reconsider its earlier ruling that declared the creation of Dinagat Island as a separate province was unconstitutional.

The SC nullified for the second time a law creating the province of Dinagat Islands unconstitutional and voided the election of its provincial officials during the 2007 elections.

Former Congresswoman Glenda Ecleo and her daughter, former Governor Geraldine “Jade” Ecleo-Villaroman, led the officials in Dinagat Islands in filing the motion for reconsideration.

“We are preparing our MR and we will file this anytime this week,” said former Congresswoman Ecleo.

She said the MR is supported by other former Dinagat Islands officials, including the mayors, vice mayors and their respective municipal board members of Basilisa, Cagdianao, Dinagat, Libjo, Loreto, San Jose and Tubajon.

“We will try our best to appeal to the SC to reconsider their decision,” also said former governor Villaroman.

For the second time, the highest court, led by Associate Justice Diosdado M. Peralta, threw out the motions for reconsideration separately filed by the Office of the Solicitor-General and Gov. Villaroman, representing the province of Dinagat Islands.

In that 16-pages decision last May 12, 2010 pinned by Peralta, the SC maintained that the “creation of Dinagat Islands failed to comply with the requirements of population and land areas for it to become a separate province” from Surigao del Norte province.

The SC, in its ruling last February, also said “Dinagat Islands failed to comply with the land area requirement of 2,000 square kilometers, considering that R.A. 9355 expressly states that the province only contains and approximate land area of 802.12 sq.km”.

The highest court also said that the province also “failed to comply with the population requirement of not less than 250,000 population as certified by the National Statistics Office (NSO).

It held that the arguments raised in the motions had already been passed upon in the court’s Feb. 10, 2010 decision, nullifying R.A 9355, otherwise known as An Act Creating the province of Dinagat Islands.

R.A 9355 was signed into law by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on oct. 2, 2006.

However, former vice-governor Rodolfo Navarro and former board members Victor Bernal and Rene Medina filed the complaint, saying that the creation of Dinagat Islands province allegedly failed to comply with the territory and population requirements. (PNA)

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