Imee Marcos seeks SC help vs House threat of arrest
Ilocos Norte Governor Imee R. Marcos on Thursday sought the Supreme Court’s (SC) intervention following threats of arrest by the House of Representatives and the continued detention of six Ilocos Norte government employees in connection with the investigation into the alleged misuse of P66.45 million in tobacco funds to buy motor vehicles.
In a 67-page omnibus petition, Marcos, together with the “Ilocos Six”—Pedro S. Agcaoili Jr., Encarnacion A. Gaor, Josephine P. Calajate, Genedine D. Jambaro, Eden C. Battulayan and Evangeline C. Tabulog—urged the high court to take jurisdiction on the habeas corpus case pending before the Court of Appeals (CA).
The same petition is also asking the High Court to immediately order the release of the six provincial government employees. The petitioners likewise, urged the SC to issue a writ of amparo against the House of Representatives, particularly its Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability and its chairman Ilocos Norte Representative Rodolfo Fariñas.
The petitioners said the writ of amparo is necessary “to protect the actual and threatened violations and infringement of their constitutionally-guaranteed rights to liberty and security of person.”
A writ of amparo is a remedy that is available to any person whose right to life, liberty and security is violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or entity.
The “Ilocos Six” have been detained since May 29, at the House of Representatives after being cited in contempt by the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability.
A petition for habeas corpus has been filed before the CA. The appeals court ordered their release. It also issued a show cause order requiring House sergeant-at-arms Roland Detabali to explain why he should not be cited in contempt for the defying the order and twice rejecting the service of the CA ruling.
However, the House officials refused to accept the orders and insisted that they were invalid because the appellate court has no jurisdiction over the matter.
Instead, the House committee issued a show cause order requiring the CA justices to explain why they should not be cited in contempt for ordering the release of the so-called Ilocos Six.
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez also earlier threatened to abolish the CA and disbar the three justices in the CA division that issued the orders.
In the petition filed at the SC, they told the high court that Congress has subjected the six employees to psychological torture and intimidation.
“The conditions of confinement are degrading and inhuman—effectively a continuing psychological torture inflicted… They were not provided food and mattresses and beddings. The detention was a stock room with very poor ventilation and turned hastily into a detention room,” the petition stated.
During the May 29 inquiry, Fariñas said the “Ilocos six” will be detained until Congress resumes its session on July 24, 2017.
In urging the High Court to take jurisdiction of the habeas corpus, petitioners said “it is not likely that a decision on the habeas corpus case is forthcoming” citing the July 7, 2017 letter by Associate Justice Edwin Sorongon.
Sorongon, in his letter said “despite his faithful adherence to the law and jurisprudence in the performance of his duties, it is lamentable, that the undersigned, as acting third member of the Special 4th Division was unfairly criticized before the public, prejudging him as partial and biased undermining his integrity and judicial independence. These series of events have rendered it completely untenable for the undersigned to further participate in the proceeding concerning this case.”
Members of the appeals court special fourth division also sought guidance from the SC. The High Court has yet to act on the said letter. JPV
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