Former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. urged the House of Representatives to release the six Ilocos Norte officials who have been detained for more than two weeks in connection with the alleged misuse of P66 million of tobacco funds.
The Court of Appeals ordered the release of the six provincial government officials but House leaders defied the ruling.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez earlier called the three CA justices who signed the ruling “stupid” for questioning Congress’ authority to cite uncooperative resource persons in contempt.
Marcos on Thursday visited the six — Pedro Agcaoili, chairman of the Provincial Planning and Development Office, Josephine Calajate, provincial treasurer, Evangeline Tabulog, provincial budget officer and Eden Battulayan, Encarnacion Gaor and Genedine Jambaro, staff at the Provincial Treasurer’s Office.
“It is now their 17th day [in detention]despite the order of the Court of Appeals that they should be released.
The House barred the sheriff from serving the CA’s order. Nakakaawa naman, pinuntahan ko. Nakita ko naman kasi mga tao ko ito eh (I pity them, so I came to see them. These people worked for me),” Marcos told reporters.
The six were detained after Fariñas moved to cite them in contempt for giving evasive answers during the congressional inquiry on the P66 million tobacco funds spent for vehicles.
Marcos called for the release of the six officials.
“Actually, these people were also employees of Fariñas when he was governor of Ilocos Norte. We are pursuing every legal recourse that will be available to us for them to be released,” he said.
“If he (Fariñas) feels there is a case to be filed, then we take it to court. As it is, this is being cruel. These people can hardly get rest and some of them are old already. I don’t know what their continued detention will achieve. Their testimony won’t change,” Marcos added.
“Those who have been detained here are connected with bombings…those who kill people. The members of the Ilocos 6 were just detained because apparently, they failed to satisfy Congress with their answers. The Ilocos 6 are being held hostage.”
Repeatedly quizzed by Fariñas if they signed documents that allowed the release of the P66 million worth of tobacco funds, the officials said they can’t answer unless they see the original documents on the purchase of the vehicles.
Fariñas’ documents were photocopied because the original copies are missing.
House Sgt. at Arms Roland Detabali gave assurances that the rights of the six are protected.
“Their health is being checked everyday, and they have walking exercises outdoors, also everyday,” Detabali said.