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Datu Malingin, also known as Lemuel Talingting, was indicted for rape as he allegedly raped a minor child. Datu Malingin filed a motion to quash the information filed against him on the ground that as a member of the indigenous group Higaonon-Sugbuanon Tribe, the court has no jurisdiction over him. He invoked Sections 65 and 66 of R.A. No. 8371 of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA). According to Datu Malingin, the case against him should be resolved in accordance with the customary law and practices of the Higaonon-Sugbuanon Tribe.
ISSUE: Whether or not Datu Malingin is correct.
HELD: No. One’s membership in an indigenous group shall not hinder the filing of a criminal case against the concerned person. No right of Datu Malingin, as an alleged member of an Indigenous Cultural Community (ICC), was violated by the filing of rape charges against him.
The intention of our laws to protect the Indigenous Peoples does not include the deprivation of courts of its jurisdiction over criminal cases. This means that members of the ICC who are charged with criminal offenses cannot simply invoke the provisions of RA 8371 to evade prosecution and the possibility of criminal sanctions.