ILOCOS Norte Rep. Imelda Romualdez-Marcos said yesterday her appeal to Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez to release on her recognizance the so-called “Ilocos Six” may prevent a full-blown constitutional crisis, insisting that the order of the Court of Appeals (CA) to provisionally release the detainees is lawful.
Marcos, a former First Lady and wife of the late President Ferdinand Marcos, stressed that her option may be considered a “win-win solution” for the House leadership to avoid legal confrontation with the CA that earlier ordered the immediate release of the Ilocos Six from detention.
“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 (CA) directing the House leaders to immediately release the Ilocos Six employees who filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus with the appellate court,” Mrs. Marcos said.
The House committee on good government and public accountability will hold an emergency hearing this Tuesday afternoon
which could pave the way for the release of the detainees should they decide to tell the whole truth and possible arrest of Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos if the latter ignores the subpoena for her to appear in the investigation today.
The House refused to recognize the orders of the appellate court mandating the immediate release of the detained Ilocos Norte officials and employees.
House leaders led by Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez even threatened to mobilize support to abolish the CA and to have the three justices disbarred for issuing adverse rulings against the House of Representatives.
CA Special 4th Division Acting Presiding Justice Stephen Cruz and Justices Erwin Sorongon and Nina Antonino-Valenzuela issued a writ of habeas corpus, a legal remedy used to bring a detainee before the court to determine if the person’s imprisonment or detention is lawful, to provisionally release the detainees.
The CA justices also issued a show cause order against Alvarez and House Sergeant-at-Arms Roland Detabali to explain why they should not be cited in contempt for ignoring their ruling dated June 9 to provisionally release the “Ilocos Six.”
Citing humanitarian reasons, Marcos said the Ilocos Six are her constituents and she is worried about the health conditions of the detainees.
“I urge Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to allow the release of the six employees of the provincial government of Ilocos Norte on my own recognizance. Since the Ilocos 6 are also my constituents, I am making this appeal to the House leadership to release them for humanitarian reasons,” said Mrs. Marcos.
Marcos promised that she would make sure of the attendance of the six employees whenever their presence is required by the panel in its ongoing legislative inquiry.
Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel, who chairs the committee, said he is hoping that the “Ilocos Six” will use today’s hearing as an opportunity to regain their freedom.
But Pimentel said the Ilocos Six, which include Ilocos Norte treasurer Josephine Calajate, accountant Edna Batulayan, budget officer Evangeline Tabulog, bids and awards committee head Pedro Agcaoili as well as Genedine Jambaro and Encarnacion Gaor of the provincial treasurer’s office who have been detained since May 29 at the House of Representatives after they were cited in contempt, should come clean and tell all on the alleged fraudulent use of P66.45 million in public funds representing the province’s share of excise tax collections from locally manufactured Virginia type cigarettes.
The Mrs. Marcos lamented that based on her visits, the Ilocos Six are made to endure miserable conditions inside their detention cell despite most of them needing constant medical attention due to age and pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes and hypertension.
She also noted the lack of food and sleeping mattresses, which she provided as well as inadequate ventilation facility due to a dilapidated air-conditioning unit.