Supreme Court

By: L.N. Reklai

After the court issuance of temporary injunction barring funeral and burial of Ebil ra Otong Ereong Remeliik at Ulimang Bai and odesongel ra Otong on September 30th, Augustino Blailes as Beches of Otong clan, filed an appeal to the Appellate Court to suspend the court order and to allow for funeral and burial to proceed whilst the trial continue over the contending claims for the title of Beches of Otong clan of Ulimang hamlet of Ngaraard State.

The appellant Blailes asked the court for quick decision on the request to suspend court order as the funeral and burial of the late Ereong Remeliik had been postponed twice already.

In the Island Times issue of October 8, Vol. 14, No. 96, it erroneously reported that “Paulus Ongalibang in previous court case was recognized by court as Beches of Otong clan.”  Actually the court order on Findings and Preliminary Injunction on CA  No. 19-120, states under the findings that “Evangelisto Ongalibang was Beches from 2008 to 2015.”  Evangelisto Ongalibang was the brother of Paulus Ongalibang.

Paulus Ongalibang is the plaintiff who filed for Preliminary Injunction to bar funeral and burial of Ebil ra Otong Ereong Remeliik based on his claim as Beches. He claimed as Beches of Otong clan, his permission was not requested or given for such events to take place on Otong clan lands.  Paulus Ongalibang has not been determined by the court as Beches as this court case is still continuing.

The motion contested that the Preliminary Injunction order by court based on reasoning that “Plaintiffs will face irreparable harm” falls short of “immediate and irreparable harm” and that number of cases of similar nature have shown that burying a descendent on an odesongel will not cause “irreparable harm” and that there exist a remedy should plaintiff prevails in a trial.

It contended that allowing funeral and burial of late Ereong Remeliik on Otong odesongel can still be remedied by exhumation and reburial should Paulus Ongilabang’s faction prevails in the trial.Blailes in the motion asserted that late Ereong Remeliik held the title Ebil ra Otong until her death based on judgment of Civil Case 08-271, which was also affirmed on appeal, that found that she was Ebil ra Otong and had the right to appoint Beches, the Otong clan’s male title bearer.

Furthermore the Appellant Blailes stressed that Appellee Paulus Ongalibang had not provided any evidence of “legimate customary action to remove Ereong from her title”.

In addition, Blailes in the motion stated that the same late Ebil ra Otong Ereong in a sworn statement, appointed Augustino Blailes as Beches and removed the title from previous bearer Aban Ongalibang.  Exhibits included with the filing contained a copy of signed approval of Ulimang council of chiefs accepting Blailes as Beches of Otong clan as well as notarized copy of late Ebil ra Otong Ereong Remeliik appointing Augustino Blailes as Beches.

Associate Justices Katherine A. Maraman, Daniel R. Foley and Alexandro C. Castro have been appointed to serve on the appellate panel for this appeal for Stay of Execution of Preliminary Injunction.

Lastly Augustino Blailes and his faction have filed a counter-claim against Paulus Ongalibang and his faction asserting his position as Beches of Otong and requesting the court for a declaratory judgment on his claim as Beches, dismissing Paulus Ongalibang’s claim for title of Beches and awarding costs and fees for injury and damages.