Imee Marcos decries ‘legislative tyranny’
Threatened with arrest, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos on Sunday upbraided members of the House of Representatives for what she described as “legislative tyranny” in handling the congressional probe into her province’s allegedly anomalous use of P66.45 million in tobacco funds.
In a statement released by her lawyer Estelito Mendoza, a defiant Marcos said she would exert all legal means to fight off her possible arrest as previously warned by Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel, chair of the House committee on good government and public accountability which has been conducting the inquiry.
But she assured the lawmakers of her cooperation despite her objection to House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’s decision to detain six of her subordinates, now collectively known as the “Ilocos Six.”
“The public threats directed to me on the certainty of my arrest and detention is extremely intimidating, but unnecessary,” Marcos said.
“I am already extremely intimidated by the manner the ‘Ilocos Six’ were made to suffer, the physical strain and mental torture of [their] prolonged detention,” she said.
The House inquiry was said to be an offshoot of the political rift between the Marcoses and the family of House Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas.
Interestingly, Marcos and Fariñas are both known supporters and political allies of President Duterte.
Marcos, who formerly served as Ilocos Norte representative, blasted her erstwhile colleagues as she reminded them of the constitutional provision on the separation of powers of the three branches of the government.
“As a former legislator, I also know that the power of legislative inquiry does not give Congress the power to deprive any citizen of constitutionally vested rights, such as the rights to freedom of movement and to be presumed innocent until you are proven guilty,” she said.
“Were Congress to act as investigator, prosecutor and judge rolled into one, would not the principle of separation of powers be subverted by legislative tyranny?” she asked.
The governor said the 1987 Constitution did not authorize the Congress to “act as a prosecutorial or judicial body that determines the innocence or guilt of anyone for any charge of misconduct.”
“The judicial system, not Congress, is constitutionally empowered to do so,” she said.
Citing the public remarks made by Alvarez and Pimentel, Marcos said she might suffer the fate of the six Ilocos Norte employees and officials who had been held by the House Sergeant-at-Arms office since May 29 for allegedly dodging questions asked during the inquiry.
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