3 justices inhibit selves from hearing Imee, Ilocos Six petition
Three justices of the Supreme Court (SC) inhibited themselves from hearing the petition of Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos and the six detained provincial officials seeking to stop the House of Representatives from investigating the capitol’s alleged misuse of tobacco excise tax.
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta and newly appointed Associate Justice Andres B. Reyes Jr. inhibited themselves from the case.
Sereno and Reyes, last month, issued a joint statement calling the House of Representatives to recall the show cause order against Court of Appeals (CA) Associate Justices Stephen Cruz, Edwin Sorongon and Nina Antonio-Valenzuela.
On Peralta’s decision, the case was initially raffled off to his office but recused himself from participating in the case for being a relative of one of the respondents—House Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte First District Representative Rodolfo Fariñas.
The three Justices were part of the Appeals Court Special Fourth Division that ordered the release of the “Ilocos Six” who has been detained in Congress since May 29.
Because of the inhibition, the high court has set to conduct another raffle to assign the case to another member-in-charge. Deliberations on the case had been moved to July 25, their next en banc session.
In the petition filed on July 13, aside from stopping the House inquiry on the purchase of P66.45 million worth of motor vehicles, Marcos and the Ilocos Six also sought the issuance of a writ of Amparo “to protect the actual and threaten violations and infringement of their constitutionally-guaranteed rights to liberty and security of person.”
Petitioners cited the “prolonged interrogations, indefinite detention, coerced confessions, presumption of guilt and torture” employed by respondents in earlier hearings.
The Ilocos Six remain in detention at the House for over a month already while Marcos “has been threatened with arrest and incarceration in a ‘detention chamber’ by the respondents if she refused to participate in proceedings where her failure to answer questions in a matter satisfactory to respondents will lead to a similar fate of indefinite detention.”
The other petitioners—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—also asked the high court to assume jurisdiction of their petition for habeas corpus now pending before the appeals court. Ma. Daphne Crystal Umali, INQUIRER.net trainee / JPV/rga
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