PALAU COURT UPHOLDS ‘BECHES’ CHIEFLY TITLE

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Dispute settled in favor of Evangelisto Ongalibang

By Philip N. Haruo KOROR (Palau Horizon, Sept. 8, 2009) - Evangelisto Ongalibang was established as the rightful bearer of the chiefly title "Beches" of the county of Ulimang, Ngaraard; and was accepted and permanently seated as a full-fledged member of the House of Chiefs of Ngaraard State Government on August 16, 2009.

A dispute over the chiefly title Beches between two factions of the Otong Clan of Ulimang ensued soon after the last bearer of the title, Beches Iluches Reksid, passed away last year. The dispute escalated to a point where the matter was brought to the Palau Supreme Court to which a judgment was rendered on July 07, 2009 in favor of Ongalibang’s faction.

Based on the judgment, a majority of the "Klobak er a Ulimang" – Ulimang’s traditional council of chiefs – accepted the traditional nomination of Ongalibang to the council and acknowledged that he is Beches.

Further, 7 of 10 members of the Klobak er a Ulimang signed a statement on July 16, 2009 acknowledging Ongalibang as Beches; and in addition, declared his acceptance into Ulimang’s council of chiefs. On July 21, the council informed the members of Ngaraard State House of Chiefs that Ongalibang is Beches and is a member of the council.

Members of the Ngaraard State House of Chiefs, in turn, accepted Beches Evangelisto Ongalibang into the House of Chiefs, and proceeded to process his personnel action on August 16, 2009; thus establishing Ongalibang’s permanent appointment to the House of Chiefs as Beches of Ulimang County.

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