Christian A. Rosales holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of the Philippines Diliman where he produced a dissertation on the Iraya Mangyan Justice System based on long term fieldwork among the Iraya Mangyan of Occidental Mindoro. He is currently a project assistant at D’Aboville Foundation, a French-Filipino NGO, focusing on the “Mangyan-Tamaraw Driven Landscape” project at Mts. Iglit-Baco National Park in partnership with the Tamaraw Conservation Program of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. He is also currently engaged in fieldwork among the upland Tau-Buhid. He is learning the language, customs, traditions, cosmology and the present migration dichotomy of these people residing in politically challenging restricted areas of Mindoro. Dr. Rosales was also active in the academe before he assumed a fulltime anthropology work in a Non-Government Organization.
Tigian: Consensual Power in Customary Dispute Settlement of the Iraya Mangyan
The study examines elements of consensual power in customary dispute settlement of the Iraya Mangyan. It elaborates the intricacies of “use-interplay” found in the Tigian as mode of determining the person’s guilt or innocence in case of denial. For the Iraya, “guilt” constitutes an idea of “criminality” that is penalized according to an agreed form of punishment. On the other hand, the declaration of “innocence” challenges one’s personal ideals, which are affirmed by the community as compassion, forgiveness, and unity.
Based on long-term fieldwork in Occidental Mindoro, this study highlights how patterns, themes, and dynamics of the Iraya Mangyan “world,” how power-interplay in Iraya Mangyan justice system shapes day-to-day community life, and how ordinary life engagement shapes the idea of justice. It critically locates consensual power and its elements using action theory in political anthropology. As ethnography, it captures the interplay of the three elements of consensual power: the ‘alam’, age, and speech that are firmly rooted in and arise from the community that forms a “Tigian”. It concludes that consensual power is significant in the Iraya Mangyan customary dispute settlement in determining criminality and reinforcing the concept of a “good” person in the community.
It argues for the need to acknowledge the various indigenous models of conflict resolution such as that of the Iraya Mangyan, one that is focused on consensual power and distinct from the prevailing Western or concept of “criminality” where power structure is built on a coercive-power use in the mainstream justice system.