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Loloy Unduran v.

Ramon Aberasturi
GR No.181284, October 20, 2015

Facts:

Petitioners are members of the Mirayon, Lapok, Lirongan, Talaandig Tribal Association
(MILALLITRA), or Talaandig tribe who claimed to have been living since birth on the land or
forefathers.

Respondents, represented by attorney-in-fact Ramon Aberasturi, claimed to be the lawful


owners and possessor of an unregistered parcel of agricultural land. They now filed a petition for
accion reivindicatoria with prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order or
preliminary prohibitory injunction with damages before the RTC of Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon.

Meanwhile, the rest of the petitioners filed their motion to dismiss alleging that the RTC
had no jurisdiction over the case. They maintain their contention that it is the National
Commission of Indigenous People (NCIP) not the regular courts, which has jurisdiction over
disputes and controversies involving ancestral domain of the Indigenous Cultural Communities
(ICC’s) and Indigenous People (IP) regardless of the parties involved.

Issue:
Whether or not the RTC has the jurisdiction over the disputes and controversies involving
the ancestral domain of the ICC and IP regardless of the parties involved not the NCIP.

Ruling:

Yes. It is the court of general jurisdiction who has the power or authority to heard and
decide cases whose subject matter does not fall within the exclusive original jurisdiction of any
court, tribunal or body exercising judicial of quasi-judicial function. In contrast, a court of
limited jurisdiction, or a court acting under special powers, has only the jurisdiction expressly
delegated. An administrative agency, acting in its quasi judicial capacity, is a tribunal of limited
jurisdiction which could wield only such powers that are specifically granted to it by the
enabling statutes.

The NCIP’s jurisdiction is limited under customary laws presents two important issues:
first, whether it is legally possible to punish NON-ICCs/IPs with penalties under customary laws
and second; whether a member of a particular ICC/IP could be punished in accordance with the
customary laws of another ICC/IP.

Therefore, the court finds no merit in petitioners’ contention because it would be violative
of the principle of due process for those parties who do not belong to the same ICC/IP to be
subjected to its customary laws and council of elders/leaders. Thus, the NCIP does not have
jurisdiction over a case if one of the parties is not a member of the tribe. Exceptions: a. claims
over boundary disputes. B. fraudulent claims by parties who are not members of the same
ICC/IP.