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Strange twist? High Court reversed its own verdict, Dinagat is back as province

MANILA, Via Smart. – In another bizarre judicial episode, Supreme Court flip-flopping anew as magistrates reversed its previous decision declaring Dinagat Island province unconstitutional. This surprising development was confirmed by Vice Gov. Jade Ecleo in a telephone interview on Wednesday, March 30 as revealed by her lawyers who were present during the March 29 SC deliberation.

Now in a new voting momentum of 9 favoring the reversal and 6 against, the high court overturned their early ruling that declares Republic Act No. 9355 unconstitutional or an Act that ratifies the creation of the Province of Dinagat Islands.

A month before, the Supreme Court GRANT the motion for execution of judgment filed by counsel of the petitioners and affirmed its earlier decision on the case with FINALITY and cautioning both parties to refrain from submitting further pleadings under the pain of contempt, however, on March 29 High Court’s deliberation, its early decision was reversed.

Vice Governor Jade Ecleo described Justice Antonio Eduardo Nachura as ‘PONENTE’.

Nachura who was the one issued the dissenting opinion on Dinagat case is according to report now penning the new decision. Originally, the decision was penned down by Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta and incidentally, the original verdict also got 9 votes in favor and 6 against.

Uneven Justice

Atty. Victor Bernal, counsel for the petitioners, said that if the reports were true, the Supreme Court itself violated its own rules because it requires a 2/3 votes or 10 magistrates out of 15 before it can be allowed to entertain the 2nd motion for reconsideration which in the real sense a prohibited pleading.

“It’s really unbelievable and a frustrating fact because the stability and predictability of our justice as an institution including the rules prescribed within can only be altered by mere majority or mustered majority”, Bernal said.

Like a bombshell dropped out from nowhere, Surigaonons were caught in surprise and upset upon hearing the reports that plunge in various social networking sites and text messages.

“It was so ambiguous why the Supreme Court reopened the case, it only appeared that our judicial system is really out of track and unpredictable” said an observer who requested for anonymity.
Bernal however, said they will look onward to such written order from the high court and eventually file the necessary motion for reconsideration on that effect.

Answered prayers

“It’s really an answered prayer” Jade Ecleo said.

On March 12, 2011, around two thousand Dinagatnons converged at San Jose town asking the Supreme Court Justices to reconsider their previous decision and grant the Dinagatnons their total independence from its mother province Surigao del Norte.

Armed only with banners and streamers, ordinary folks, employees and officials of Dinagat Islands are in unison calling the justices to reevaluate their judgment and let their own officials continue the development of the province.

Controversial IRA

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad whom earlier declared the suspension of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) of Dinagat due to SC’s entry of judgment now sending congratulatory signal to the Ecleo’s following the new high court’s judgment.

In a phone call to Vice Gov. Ecleo early morning on March 30, Abad applauded the Dinagatnons on the reported triumph over their embattled province which now rocking the political mainstream of Surigao del Norte.

However, it was earlier pronounced by Abad that win or loss, the budget department will still to resolve the release of Dinagat IRA because it was never included in the 2011 national budget. (Natz Corbeta, Editor/Publisher, Karaga News Central)


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