Imelda seeks Ilocos Six release on humanitarian grounds
MANILA — Ilocos Norte 2nd Dist. Rep. Imelda Marcos has called on the House of Representatives’ leadership to release the so-called “Ilocos Six” officers for “humanitarian reasons.”
In a Sunday statement, she added that releasing the detained officers would be a “win-win solution” to avert a possible constitutional crisis sparked by the House’s defiance of a Court of Appeals order.
Marcos said she would formally write Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Good Government and Public Accountability committee chairman Johnny Pimentel to secure the six provincial employees’ release on “my own recognizance.”
This meant she would vouch for the six and make them commit that “they will show up for future appearances and hearings of the House committee.”
The former First Lady and widow of dictator Ferdinand Marcos issued the appeal as she noted the lack of food and mattresses, which she had to provide, as well as inadequate ventilation in the House’s custodial facility.
She said most of the detainees need constant medical attention due to age and pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes and hypertension.
The six employees—provincial planning and development officer and bids and awards committee chair Pedro Agcaoili, 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.
“Since the Ilocos Six are also my constituents, I am making this appeal to the House leadership to release them for humanitarian reasons,” Marcos said.
She added that releasing the provincial employees would avoid a legal confrontation as the House has so far rebuffed three attempts by the Court of Appeals to serve its June 9 release order.
“This could be a win-win solution for the House of Representatives to get out of a possible constitutional crisis for its continued defiance of the lawful orders of the Court of Appeals directing the House leaders to immediately release the Ilocos Six employees who filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus with the appellate court,” Marcos said.
The Court of Appeals, it may be recalled, granted the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus to the employees who filed a petition through top defense lawyer and Marcos era Solicitor-General Estelito Mendoza.
Alvarez, however, called the three CA justices “gago (fools)” for issuing the release order and threatened to seek their disbarment or even dissolve the appellate court itself since it was created by Congress anyway.
The employees were cited in contempt upon motion by House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, the representative of the province’s 1st district. This was after the committee failed to get satisfactory answers from the workers who claimed they could not remember the details of transactions made using tobacco excise tax proceeds several years ago.
The House’s inquiry stemmed from the alleged misuse of P66.45-million of the tax proceeds to purchase various vehicles for the provincial government. Fariñas said the province was mandated to use its share of the tax to aid tobacco farmers and alleged that no public bidding was held for the vehicles. SFM
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