By Malu Cadeliña Manar
KIDAPAWAN CITY – Mayor Joseph Evangelista has vetoed an ordinance that created a special court for indigenous peoples (IPs) here.
Evangelista, in an interview, explained that he vetoed the ordinance because there was already a tribal court that had been set up in the city since three years ago.
“There’s no need for an ordinance that would create such court. In 2015, there was already a certification from the National Commission on the Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) that created the court and appointed nine tribal justices for that,” said the mayor.
One of the tribal justices was Datu Camilo Icdang, deputy mayor for the IP affairs in Kidapawan City.
The ordinance was authored by City Councilor and former trial court judge Francis Palmones.
He has also questioned the process by which the ordinance was passed.
“There were tribal elders, leaders, and a group of IPs that were not consulted before the passage of the ordinance, including the NCIP director for North Cotabato, including our deputy mayor for the IP, IP mandatory representatives from 26 barangays, and barangay tribal council,” said the mayor.
Evangelista, however, said the Sanggunian can overturn his decision.
“By mere two-thirds vote of the members of the council, they can reverse the mayor’s ruling and submit such legislation to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan ng Cotabato for review,” he stressed.