SoCot mayor sued for illegal appointment of IP representative

SoCot mayor sued for illegal appointment of IP representative

MANILA – The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) has endorsed the filing of criminal and administrative charges before the Ombudsman against South Cotabato officials who appointed an IP representative to the local legislature.

NCIP chair Allen Capuyan endorsed the complaint against Tampakan Mayor Leonard Escobillo, Vice Mayor Anadel Magbanua and other local officials who removed IP representatives in the municipal council and approved the appointment of a replacement, Jimmy Malayon, without undergoing the legal process.

The complaint was filed on Jan. 6 by Tampakan IPs, led by IP Mandatory Representative Domingo Collado Jr. and Municipal Indigenous Peoples Structure convenor Bae Dalena Samling.

They claimed Escobillo and the other officials violated the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices, Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees and Indigenous Peoples Rights Act in disregarding the authority of their community leaders.

Under the law, particularly the IP Rights Act, indigenous cultural communities (ICC) and IPs are entitled to representation before local legislative bodies.

There are local processes and guidelines in selecting the representatives, guided and validated by the NCIP, the lead government agency tasked to protect and uphold the rights and welfare of IPs.

The law prohibits non-members of the IP community, including public officials, to meddle in the affairs of ICC and IP communities. (PNA)

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