House issues show cause order against 3 CA justices

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 20) — A House of Representatives panel said on Tuesday they issued a show cause order against three Court of Appeals (CA) justices who ruled in favor of the release of Ilocos Norte provincial employees detained by the legislators in connection with an ongoing probe of alleged misuse of tobacco funds.

In an emergency meeting, members of the Good Government committee held that the CA had no authority over Congress, which could detain witnesses cited for contempt.

Instead of releasing, solons ordered the continued detention of the provincial employees for avoiding to answer the lawmakers' questions.

"May tinatago kayo eh (You're hiding something). Kaya kayo hindi sumasagot (You're not answering). Our questions are easy. Kaya kayo naka-detain (You are detained) because you refuse to answer questions. By answering them, you become free," Majority Floor Leader and Ilocos Norte First District Representative Rodolfo Farinas said.

Provincial Planning and Development Office Chairman Pedro Agcaoili and Ilocos Norte Provincial Treasurer and Budget employees Josephine Calajate, Evangeline Tabulog, Genedine Jambaro, Eden Batulayan, and Encarnacion Gaor have been detained for over 20 days after being held in contempt during a May 29 House hearing on the alleged malversation of tobacco funds in their province.

Ilocos Norte Second District Representative Imelda Marcos, whose appeal to release the six employees for humanitarian reasons was denied, left in the middle of the hearing.

Marcos' daughter, incumbent Ilocos Norte governor Imee Marcos, was the one who had requested and approved the purchase of at least 100 vehicles using over P66M in tobacco funds — funds originally meant to help farmers' cooperative and livelihood.

READ: House panel summons Imee Marcos, detains 6 prov'l officer