Court grants injunction stopping Baguio IPMR from holding office


BAGUIO CITY –– The Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 6 has granted the city government and a group of private individuals’ plea to stop the chosen Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) from holding office as a member of the Baguio City Council.

The court has issued a writ of preliminary injunction against Roger Sinot Jr., who was reportedly selected by some tribes to be the IPMR to the city council.

In a five-page decision obtained on Friday, the RTC Branch 6, presided by Judge Cecilia Corazon Dulay-Archog, said: “The court, in the exercise of its sound discretion, deems it best to issue a preliminary injunction, so as not to render moot and academic, the issues on the qualifications and selection of Roger Sinot, Jr. which will yet be finally resolved by the NCIP.”

The injunction against Sinot was issued after finding merit in the petitions filed against him on his qualifications and the alleged flawed selection process that resulted in his being chosen as the IPMR.

“There was an indication that there was an invasion of their rights sought to be protected by the injunctive right, otherwise, immediate irreparable damage will be committed. It is not disputed that a protest questioning the qualifications of respondent Sinot to represent the indigenous peoples of Baguio City is still pending final resolution before the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples. It must be understood that the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction is discretionary with the court,” Archog said in the order.

The injunction restrains Sinot from assuming or exercising authority as IPMR in the city council. It also restrains the city government from committing any act that would recognize Sinot as IPMR in the local legislative body, and the local government from appropriating any budget for the salary of Sinot and of the IPMR office.

Private petitioners claimed there were irregularities in the selection process of the IPMR to the local legislative body and the reported exclusion of other tribes in the selection process.

The court referred the two cases filed by the petitioners and the local government against Sinot with the Philippine Mediation Center for the court-annexed mediation (CAM) on February 20, 2018.

The court added that if mediation fails, the records should be forwarded to the RTC Clerk of Court for a re-raffle, so the dispute could be resolved at another court branch.