MANILA – The so-called “Ilocos 6” filed a motion for provisional release and bail before the Court of Appeals after the House of Representatives stood firm in its decision to detain them for failing to testify at an inquiry into the P66.45-million purchase of motor vehicles by the provincial government of Ilocos Norte.
The money used for the purchase was taken from the province’s share in tobacco excise tax, and a House inquiry being pushed by Rep. Rudy Fariñas has begun.
Earlier, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, a political rival of Fariñas, had expressed support for the six provincial government officials whom the House wanted to testify.
According to Atty. Estelito Mendoza, lawyer for the Ilocos 6, their treatment by the chamber, led by Fariñas, constituted torture.
Mendoza and Governor Marcos showed media photos illustrating the dire situation of the six employees, who were earlier favored with a writ of habeas corpus issued by the appeals court.
The CA ordered the House sergeant-at-arms to present in court the Ilocos 6, but this did not happen last Tuesday.
Mendoza said they were certain the Ilocos 6 are still alive, but their situation is not good. They sleep on the floor and are kept in poor conditions.
The six employees were also not prepared for detention, because the congressmen refused them a chance to get even their basic needs before they were confined.
Mendoza, a former solicitor general and justice secretary, expressed hope the CA would favor their motion for bail for the Ilocos 6.
He echoed Marcos’ claim that the House inquiry and other related events were rooted in provincial politics. He tagged Fariñas as the one behind it all.