The House of Representatives won’t back down on its show cause order against the three justices of the Court of Appeals (CA) who ordered the release of six government employees of Ilocos Norte being investigated over the alleged misuse of P66 million worth of tobacco funds.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez stood firm even after Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno called on the House Good Government and Public Accountability panel to take back the show cause order compelling Justices Nina Valenzuela, Erwin Sorongon and Presiding Justice Stephen Cruz to explain why they should not be cited in contempt for ordering the House to release the employees whom the media has dubbed the “Ilocos 6”.
Ilocos Norte treasurer Josephine Calajate, accountant Edna Batulayan, budget officer Evangeline Tabulog, bids and awards committee head Pedro Agcaoili and Genedine Jambaro and Encarnacion Gaor of the provincial treasurer’s office have been detained at the Batasan Complex since May 29. They were cited in contempt for refusing to confirm their signatures on certified true copies of purchase orders and vouchers for motor vehicles and medicines, among others, using the P66 million tobacco fund.
Alvarez insisted that it was the Special Fourth Division of the Court of Appeals that violated the existing law and established jurisprudence.
“I appreciate the opinion expressed by Chief Justice 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, but let me be clear that the House of Representatives is simply doing its job based on jurisprudence and existing law,” Alvarez said.
“It is true that harmony must be preserved among the co-equal branches of our government under the principle of separation of powers, but it has also become necessary for the House committee to issue the show cause order as a consequence of the CA’s order that overstepped its authority and transgressed the committee’s contempt powers—a necessary extension of its legislative power affirmed by no less than the Supreme Court,” Alvarez added.
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