3 SC justices inhibit from Ilocos Norte detention case
MANILA, Philippines – Three Supreme Court (SC) justices inhibited from hearing the petition of Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos and 6 local officials seeking to stop the congressional probe into the alleged misuse of P66.45 million provincial tobacco funds.
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta, and Associate Justice Andres Reyes Jr have inhibited from the case, SC spokesperson Theodore Te announced in a press conference on Tuesday, July 18.
The case was initially raffled off to Peralta. Given his inhibition, the deliberations have been reset for July 25.
While Te did not mention their reasons for inhibition, Sereno and Reyes had previously issued a joint statement urging the House committee on good government and public accountability to recall the show cause order it issued against 3 Court of Appeals (CA) justices from the Special 4th Division.
The CA had issued a ruling ordering the House panel to provisionally release the 6 Ilocos Norte officials it had detained for giving “dismissive” answers during a hearing on May 29. The officials are as follows:
- Pedro Agcaoili, Provincial Planning and Development Office chairperson
- Josephine Calajate, provincial treasurer
- Eden Battulayan, provincial accountant
- Encarnacion Gaor, Provincial Treasurer's Office staff
- Genedine Jambaro, Provincial Treasurer's Office staff
- Evangeline Tabulog, provincial budget officer
The House, however, refused to acknowledge the court order, arguing the CA has no jurisdiction over the powers of Congress to cite in contempt uncooperative resource persons in committee hearings.
Their refusal to recognize the CA order prompted the Special 4th Division to issue a show cause order against House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Sergeant-at-Arms Roland Detabali why the court should not cite them in contempt.
In turn, the House committee on good government and public accountability issued a show cause order against the 3 CA justices why they should not be cited in contempt for meddling in House affairs. (READ: House defers show cause order vs 3 CA justices in Ilocos detention case)
Marcos and the so-called “Ilocos 6” then filed their omnibus motion before the SC, urging the justices to take over the pending CA detention case. They are also asking the High Court to order the House to release the detained officials. – Rappler.com