Mendoza: Ilocos Six are the victims in Congress-courts tussle
MANILA — For seasoned defense lawyer Estelito Mendoza, the so-called ‘Ilocos Six” have become unwitting “victims” in the ongoing confrontation between the House of Representatives and the judiciary.
“Kung may away ngayon ang Court of Appeals, ang Supreme Court, at ang House, eh kawawa naman ang anim (In this quarrel between the Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court and the House, it’s the six who are in a pitiful state),” Mendoza said in an interview with Sandiganbayan reporters on Thursday.
“Biktima sila ng away (They are the victims in this quarrel),” said the lawyer who represents the Ilocos Norte provincial government employees detained after being cited in contempt of the House on May
The Ilocos Six dispute has sparked fears of a constitutional crisis, after the House rebuffed the Court of Appeals order to release the six from detention. Its leadership considered the Court of Appeals an inferior court that breached its contempt powers and unduly interfered in the processes despite Congress being separate but coequal with the judiciary.
The dispute escalated on Tuesday, after the House retaliated by directing the three justices of the Court of Appeals Special Fourth Division to explain why they should not be cited in contempt.
The following day, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and CA Presiding Justice Andres Reyes Jr. issued a joint statement expressing “deep concern,” and urging the House to recall the order and avail of the proper legal remedies.
Asked if he agreed with the Supreme Court and CA’s joint statement, he said: “‘Di na ako sasali sa conversation nila. Eh, Chief Justice na ‘yan eh (I won’t join their conversation anymore. That’s the Chief
Justice speaking already).” SFM
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.