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G.R. No. 92649 – 194 SCRA 101 – Political Law – Constitutional Law – Judicial Power – Tribal Court Has No Judicial Power – Cordillera Bodong Administration
Spouses Leonor and Rosa Badua were occupying a parcel of land in Abra. The said land is being claimed by David Quema. Quema said he sold the land to a certain Dra. Erotida Valera but then he was able to repurchase the land later from the same doctor. The Baduas however contend that they were the ones who bought the land from Valera but that they cannot produce the deed of sale because it was with the vice governor. Quema sued the Baduas not before the regular courts but rather before the Maeng Tribal Court. The said tribal court is composed of elders respected in the community and that it is alleged that their decision is likewise respected. The tribal court is also a branch of the Cordillera Bodong Administration. Non-compliance to the tribal court’s decision would result in community ostracism. The tribal court resolved the issue by granting the land to Quema. The Baduas were then ordered to vacate the land. The Baduas refused. Thereafter the Baduas received a warning order from the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CPLA) – the military branch of the Cordillera Bodong Administration. This brought fear to the couple which led to Leonor’s running away and Rosa’s arrest. They were threatened by the CPLA hence they appeal before the Supreme Court.
ISSUE: Whether or not the Maeng Tribal Court is a competent court.
HELD: No, the Maeng Tribal Court is not a competent court. The Cordillera AUTONOMOUS Region never came into existence. Hence, the Cordillera Bodong Council – which would have received judicial power, granted CAR’s autonomy – never possessed judicial power. What we currently have is the Cordillera ADMINISTRATIVE Region. Hence, the Maeng Tribal Council, its supposed branch, likewise never received judicial power. Therefore, it cannot validly decide on cases, neither can it enforce its decision.