Bongbong slams House defiance of court order
Former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said he was “aghast” at the leadership of the House of Representatives for continuing to defy a Court of Appeals (CA) order to release six Ilocos Norte officials and employees who were detained following a hearing on alleged corruption in the provincial government.
Marcos on Thursday visited the six detainees who have been detained since May 29, after they were held in contempt by the House good government and public accountability committee for allegedly refusing to answer questions during an inquiry into the alleged irregular procurement of P66.45 million worth of vehicles by the provincial government.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez ordered the six arrested and held by the sergeant at arms.
He later blasted the CA justices who ordered their release for their “gross ignorance of the law,” calling them “idiots.”
“I do not think that this has any precedent because those who are usually detained here are those who bomb or kill people,” said Marcos, whose sister, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, was entangled in the controversy.
“But here, they were imprisoned just because [the congressmen] did not like their answers,” he added.
17th day of detention
The House has rebuffed three attempts by the CA to serve its June 9 release order.
Pedro Agcaoili, chair of the bids and awards committee and provincial planning and development officer, provincial budget officer Evangeline Tabulog, provincial treasurer Josephine Calajate, accountant Eden Battulayan, and treasury office staff Genedine Jambaro and Encarnacion Gaor, were on their 17th day in detention when Marcos visited them.
Some of them were ill, Marcos said.
He said he had written to Alvarez, urging the Speaker to comply with the CA’s directive.
“Although we are separate branches of government, it is very rare that any branch defies the order of the judiciary, which is exactly what is happening now. And over what?” Marcos said.
“We are all aghast at what is happening,” he added.
Estelito Mendoza, a lawyer for the six, said the refusal to comply with the CA’s order after the court granted their habeas corpus petition was “shocking.”
Mendoza, who had served the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos as Solicitor General, said the CA “is an independent part of the judiciary and the judiciary is an independent and separate part of government.”
Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas was the main “proponent” of the defiance to the CA, even though the so-called “Ilocos Six” had served under him when he was governor, according to Marcos.
Fariñas, an Ilocos Norte congressman and a political adversary of the Marcoses, has alleged that as the provincial governor, Marcos’ sister was involved in the allegedly anomalous transactions “from step one to the last step.” —WITH A REPORT FROM VINCE F. NONATO
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