Supreme Court

Appellate court reversed its position and upheld trial court’s decision to maintain the order barring funeral and burial of Ebil ra OtongEreong Remeliik on Otong clan properties. In a decision released this week, appellate court handed down an order supporting trial court’s decision granting injunctionsaying that they did not find abuse of discretion in the lower court’s decision.

Previously, appellate court had issued a decision on the appeal filed by Augustino Blailes and his party challenging trial court’s decision to grant Paulus Ongalibang and his party a preliminary injunction, saying that the trial court had abused its discretion by not considering and balancing harm to both sides and had instructed the trial court to reconsider its decision in 30days-time.

Trial court on the 30th day issued its order maintaining that the harm would be greater to Paulus Ongalibang and his party if Remeliik is buried on Otong clan properties and that AugustinoBlailes and his party had option to hold funeral of Remeliik and bury her remains elsewhere.

Augustino Blailes and his party filed another appeal seeking to stay the order (stop the injunction order and proceed with funeral and burial on Otong properties) while the trial on the issue of Beches title continues.  In their appeal they said if they lose the case of Beches title, they will exhume the remains and restore property to original condition as well as pay costs related to the damage.

Appellate court in this week’s decision, denied Augustino Blailes and his party’s appeal, saying that the trial court was right in that the Paulus Ongalibang met the four factors for obtaining injunctive relief.

It emphasized that base on previous cases, that Paulus Ongalibang have higher status in the clan and “are more likely to be successful.”  It also said that burial at different location would “preserve peace and prevent discord” in Ulimang community.  In balancing the harm, Appellate agreed with trial court that Appellants AugustinoBlailes and his party did not testify to suffering any harm or embarrassment caused by delay in funeral.

Appellate in reversing its decision said “trial court applied proper legal test and thoroughly explained its decision-making process.”

To date, Ebil ra Otong Ereong Remeliik’s remains have been in the morgue for over 4 months and it is not known when and where the funeral and burial will take place. (L.N. Reklai)