OMAIRA LOMONDOT and SARIPA LOMONDOT vs. HON. RASAD G BALINDONG, – G.R. No. 192463, July 13, 2015

Facts:
On August 16, 1991, petitioners Omaira and Saripa Lomondot filed with the SDC, Marawi City, a complaint for recovery of possession and damages with prayer for mandatory injunction and temporary restraining order against respondents Ambog Pangandamun (Pangandamun) and Simbanatao Diaca (Diaca). Petitioners claimed that they are the owners by succession of a parcel of land located at Bangon, Marawi City, consisting an area of about 800 sq. meters; that respondent Pangandamun illegally entered and encroached 100 sq. meter of their land, while respondent Diaca occupied 200 sq. meters, as indicated in Exhibits “A” and “K” submitted as evidence. Respondents filed their Answer arguing that they are the owners of the land alleged to be illegally occupied. Trial thereafter ensued.

Shari’a District Court (SDC) ruled in favor of the petitioner, and an order was issued against the Private Respondent to vacate the said property. Petitioner filed a Writ of Demolition on the said property, which the SDC held in abeyance due to possible negotiation by the private parties. For failure to negotiate, SDC commissioned a Geodetic Engineer to measure the said property in dispute. Petitioner anew filed a writ of demolition and prayed for an appointment of anew Geodetic Engineer. Gleaned from Engineer Hakim Laut Balt’s Narrative Report, he could have conducted the required survey had not the plaintiffs dictated him where to start the survey. Hence, SDC denied the issuance of the writ of demolition and Parties were directed to choose and submit to the court their preferred Geodetic Engineer to conduct the survey.

Petitioner filed two motions for reconsideration which were both denied by the SDC. Petitioner escalated the case to the CA. CA ruled that In pursuing the creation of Shari’a Appellate Court, the Supreme Court En Banc even approved A.M. No. 99-4-06, otherwise known as Resolution Authorizing the Organization of the Shari’a Appellate Court. However, the Shari’a Appellate Court has not yet been organized until the present. CA dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction. Hence this case.

Issue:
Whether the CA has acquired appellate jurisdiction on the decision of the SDC due to the Shari’a Appellate Court has not yet been organized.

Held:
Yes, the SC stated that the Shari’a Appellate Court has yet to be organized with the appointment of a Presiding Justice and two Associate Justices. Until such time that the Shari’a Appellate Court shall have been organized, however, appeals or petitions from final orders or decisions of the SDC filed with the CA shall be referred to a Special Division to be organized in any of the CA stations preferably composed of Muslim CA Justices.

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