IBP Ilocos Norte backs CA in ‘Ilocos Six’ dispute
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) chapter in Ilocos Norte on Thursday rallied behind the Court of Appeals (CA) whose three justices have been the subject of a show-cause order from the House of Representatives for ordering the release of six provincial officials being held at the lower Congress for contempt.
IBP chapter president Atty. Cherrie Grace Bareng-Asistin said the House leaders should respect the “separation of powers” and the independence of the judiciary instead of issuing the show cause order against Associate Justices Stephen Cruz, Edwin Sorongon and Nina Antonio-Valenzuela.
“Respect begets respect. Yes, there is separation of powers, and in this case, there is no encroachment on the power of the legislative branch by the judiciary,” she said on Thursday.
“If the writ of habeas corpus was already issued, then it should be immediately executory, even pending appeal or motion for reconsideration, owing to the fact that the life and liberty of the detained persons are at stake,” the IBP official said.
Atty. Asistin explained that all lawyers – including Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and lawmakers who issued show-cause order against the three justices who granted reliefs to the so-called Ilocos 6 – should know very well the mandate and authority of the appellate court under the law.
She pointed out that the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980 gives the CA the “original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus, prohibition, certiorari, habeas corpus, and quo warranto, and auxiliary writs or processes, whether or not in the aid of its appellate jurisdiction.”
“If the writ was issued by a court that has competent jurisdiction over the matter, then it should be respected by the agency or whoever it was issued to,” she said.
“I understand that it was only the Sergeant-At-Arms (Roland Detabali) that was impleaded in the Petition filed with the CA. So, if it was issued directly to him, then he has no discretionary power. He has no power to defy it, rather, he has to respect the order coming from the CA,” she explained.
The appeals court’s order was directed only at Detabali as lone respondent in the case, not Alvarez or the other lawmakers involved in the congressional inquiry.
Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno and CA Presiding Justice Andres Reyes Jr. have already called on the House leadership to reconsider the order and instead avail of remedies to question the CA orders provided under the Rules of Court.
The CA has ordered the release of Pedro Agcaoili, Provincial Planning and Development Office chairperson; Josephine Calajate, provincial treasurer; Eden Battulayan, Provincial Treasurer’s Office staff; Encarnacion Gaor, Provincial Treasurer’s Office staff; Genedine Jambaro, Provincial Treasurer’s Office staff; and Evangeline Tabulog, provincial budget officer.
They have been detained since May 29 after being cited in contempt by the House committee on good government and public accountability during its probe into the alleged misuse of P66.45 million in tobacco funds to buy motor vehicles.
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