PAT

The House of Representatives is unperturbed by the appeals of Supreme Court Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno and  Apellate Court Presiding Justice Andres Reyes to recall the show cause order the Committee on Good Government issued to CA justices who ordered the release of the so-called Ilocos Norte 6.

The CA justices are   4TH DIVISION ACTING PRESIDING JUSTICE STEPHEN CRUZ AT JUSTICES ERWIN SORONGON AT NINA ANTONINO-VALENZUELA.  

In a statement, House Speaker Pantaleon  Alvarez instead advised the 2 to hold accountable the CA justices. “While I appreciate the view of Chief Justice Sereno and Presiding Justice Reyes, it may also be best if they can discipline the said members of the Appeals Court for grave abuse of discretion and abuse of authority. Accordingly, it also has the power to rectify the “uneasy situation” its recklessness has created.”

Alvarez said, “let it be clear that the House of Representatives is simply doing its job based on jurisprudence and existing law. For the record, it is the Special Fourth Division of the Court of Appeals that violated the existing law and established jurisprudence. “

Alvarez added, “However, it has become necessary for the House committee to issue the show cause order against the justices of the CA Special Fourth Division. Such is a consequence of the court’s order that overstepped its authority and transgressed the committee’s contempt powers, which is a necessary extension of its legislative power affirmed by no less than the Supreme Court in numerous cases.”

Alvarez pointed out that the CA order impinges on the core of the legislative power that the Constitution has vested upon the House of Representatives of which we are duty-bound to protect.  “It was the action of the CA Special Fourth Division that precipitated the unfortunate situation when it committed grave abuse of discretion tantamount to ignorance of the law in issuing the controversial order. It has not only violated the constitutional power of the HOR, but has overturned jurisprudence long established by the Supreme Court since 1950. In the 2006 case of Sabio v Gordon, citing an 1821 American case, the SC in reiterating the power of Congress to hold and detain a person in contempt, stated “that there is in some cases a power in each House of Congress to punish for contempt; that this power is analogous to that exercised by the courts.”

Alvarez however appreciated the opinions issued by the 2 justices. “I appreciate the opinion expressed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno and Court of Appeals Presiding Justice Andres Reyes, Jr. over the impasse between the Special Fourth Division of the CA and the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability.”

Committee Chairman Johnny Pimentel advised the justices to make their requests for reconsideration in writing and address it to the committee. Pimentel explained that on his own, he cannot recall the show cause order which he already signed and is up for signature by the Speaker. “i cannot usurp the powers of the comittee. hindi naman pwedeng verbal there must be a proper official request for reconsideration”

Meantime Pimentel also revealed that it will soon serve the subpoena for Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos to attend the July 25 hearing of the committee. the committee approved the subpoena in its May 29 hearing and is likewise up for the signature of Alvarez. “its already in the office of the speaker for his signature. once it is already signed we will serve it to gov imee next week.”

The Committee, led by Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas is probing the provincce’s alleged misuse of some P66M in excise tax funds. The 6 provincial officials have been detained by the committee for refusing to answer questions on the transaction which was done during the term of Governor Marcos. the 6 got an order of release from the CA which in turn was the reason the House issued a show cause order to the justices.

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 have been detained since May 29 at the House, after they were cited for contempt by Pimentel’s panel.

Farinas and Marcos are both on their last term as representative and provincial governor. Both are allies of President Duterte.