SC affirms Dinagat Islands as a province with finality

Posted on September 21, 2012

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MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court has ruled with finality that the law creating Dinagat Islands province out of Surigao del Norte in 2006 was constitutional.

The Court denied the motion for reconsideration filed by Surigao political leaders Rodolfo Navarro, Victor Bernal and Rene Medina, which asked the high tribunal for the reinstatement of its Feb. 10, 2010, ruling that Republic Act No. 9355, which created the country’s 80th province, was unconstitutional.

On April 12, 2011, the Court reversed itself and declared RA 9355 valid. The reversal was described by critics as “flip-flopping” and accused the Court, which was dominated by appointees of ex-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, of favoring Gov. Glenda Ecleo and her son Rep. Ruben Ecleo Jr., who were members of former ruling administration party Lakas-Kampi-CMD.

“The Court resolved to deny with finality the said motion for reconsideration as no substantial arguments were presented to warrant the reversal of the questioned resolution,” stated the Court’s Sept. 11 resolution signed by clerk of court Enriqueta Vidal.

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio wrote a dissenting opinion, which was shared by Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno and Justices Arturo Brion, Diosdado Peralta, Martin Villarama Jr. and Estela Perlas-Bernabe.

Carpio’s dissent reiterated his original position that the Dinagat Islands could not be created a province for not having the land size and the population required by the law in designating a province. /INQUIRER

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