The Supreme Court will tackle on Tuesday the petition of Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos and the six detained provincial officials seeking protection against members of the House of Representatives.
Congress is conducting an investigation into the allegation that the province’s tobacco excise funds were used to the purchase overpriced vehicles.
The six provincial employees, who were ordered held last May 29, marked their 50th day in detention at the House of Representatives. The House leadership was also threatening to detain Marcos.
The high court has included the petition in its regular en banc session so it can tackle the reliefs being sought by Marcos including issuance of temporary restraining order (TRO) stopping the investigation of the House committee on good government and public accountability on the alleged anomaly in the purchase of P66.45 million worth of motor vehicles by the provincial government.
In the petition, Marcos also asked for the issuance of a writ of Amparo. She also pleaded for the 15-member bench to assume jurisdiction over of the habeas corpus case of the Ilocos Six pending before the Court of Appeals.
Section 6 of the Rules of Writ of Amparo provides: “Upon the filing of the petition, the court, justice or judge shall immediately order the issuance of the writ if on its face it ought to issue. The clerk of court shall issue the writ under the seal of the court; or in case of urgent necessity, the justice or the judge may issue the writ under his or her own hand, and may deputize any officer or person to serve it. The writ shall also set the date and time for summary hearing of the petition which shall not be later than seven (7) days from the date of its issuance.”
The petition was already raffled to a member in charge upon filing of the petition last Thursday, July 13, as it included an urgent motion for raffle.
The petition named as respondents House majority leader and Ilocos Norte 1st district Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas, House committee chair and Surigao del Sur 2nd district Rep. Johnny Pimentel and House sergeant-at-arms Roland Detabali.
In seeking the writ of Amparo, petitioners cited the “prolonged interrogations, indefinite detention, coerced confessions, presumption of guilt and torture” employed by respondents in earlier hearings.
Marcos maintained that the purchase of the vehicles were above board.
Several mayors, vice mayors, barangay chairpersons and leaders of farmers’ groups expressed support for the embattled governor.
They issued separate resolutions denouncing the threat of detention by the House should Marcos fail to appear in the ongoing investigation being conducted by the House committee on the alleged misuse of tobacco funds.
The local executive also urged Marcos not to attend the July 25 hearing of the committee, believing she would not get a fair treatment from the body and will suffer the same fate of the “Ilocos 6” who were cited in contempt and subsequently detained.
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