Businessman’s bid to get rid of Ati ancestral domain in Boracay fails

The Supreme Court (SC) has dismissed a local businessman’s bid for the cancellation of the Ati indigenous cultural community of their ancestral domain title covering 2.531 hectares in the renowned Boracay island.

The SC 1st Division, in a recent 7-page notice of resolution, said Gregorio Sanson and his wife Ma. Lourdes Tirol-Sanson failed to avail of the proper legal remedies.

The case concerned the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples’ (NCIP) August 2010 grant of the Ati petition for delineation and recognition of its claim near Station 1 of Barangay Manoc-manoc.

The SC stressed the NCIP had “primary jurisdiction” over ancestral domain claims. This meant the Sansons should have appealed from its resolution and gone to the Court of Appeals (CA) as provided by Rule X, Section 27 of the Revised Rules of Procedure Before the NCIP.

Instead, the Sansons filed a complaint for the cancellation of the certification of ancestral domain title (CADT) and reconveyance of the property before the Kalibo, Aklan, Regional Trial Court (RTC).

The SC saw this as “an attempt to revive a lost appeal, which cannot be countenanced,” read the notice signed by Division Clerk of Court Librada Buena.

The RTC in May 2012 entertained the Sansons’ complaint and denied the Ati and the NCIP motion questioning its jurisdiction. The Court of Appeals (CA) in October 2015 ruled the trial court had erred and ordered it to throw out the case, a directive affirmed by the SC.

The Ati community faces threats and violence from at least three families seeking to exploit their land.

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