Speaker Alvarez threatens to dissolve Court of Appeals
Congress can at any time “dissolve” the Court of Appeals, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez warned on Friday, insisting that the appellate court had no power to compel the House of Representatives to release the six Ilocos Norte officials in its custody.
“They are not even our co-equal branch… They are merely a creation of Congress—that Court of Appeals. They only exist because they were created by Congress. Any time, we can dissolve them. So they better start thinking,” he told a radio interview.
The leader of the House also threatened to disbar the three justices from the CA Special Fourth Division, Stephen Cruz, Edwin Sorongon and Nina Antonino-Valenzuela, for granting the habeas corpus petition of the six and issuing a release order allowing them to post bail.
He called them “gago” (idiot) in a text message to reporters on Wednesday. He added two more epithets: “bugok” (rotten) and “buwang” (crazy) in the early Friday interview on dzMM, a transcript of which was sent to House reporters by the Speaker’s office.
“For me, they have no jurisdiction over us. Who are they to dictate Congress what to do? We have rights that have been upheld by the Supreme Court a number of times,” Alvarez said.
“That’s really gross ignorance of the law. That is why I will not honor their order to [allow the six] to post bail. I will claim responsibility, let’s see, because they are too much,” he said.
The Court of Appeals, the second highest court of the land, was created with the passage of Commonwealth Act No. 3 in December 1935 in what was then supposed to be a transition from US rule to an independent Philippine government.
This week, the CA attempted three times to serve the order at the Batasang Pambansa but was prevented from doing so, on Alvarez’ directive.
The so-called “Ilocos Six” were held in contempt by the House good government and public accountability committee and later ordered detained by Alvarez 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.
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, have been detained since May 29.
Alvarez said Antonino-Valenzuela was married to a former associate of Estelito Mendoza, the counsel of the Ilocos Six, and should have inhibited herself “out of delicadeza.”
He also said the discussion of the case should be restricted to its merits, and not the political feud between the Marcoses and Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas in Ilocos Norte.
It was Fariñas, a representative of the province’s first district, who first called for an inquiry into the alleged irregular purchases. He has pointed to Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos as being directly involved in the alleged anomaly. JPV/rga
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