After calling them “gago” (idiots), Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez is now threatening the three Court of Appeals justices handling the case of the detained Ilocos Norte employees with disbarment.
“Itong mga tatlong gagong justices na ito, dapat ito, magpa-file kami ng disbarment cases for ignorance of the law, itong justices na ito,” he said in a radio interview on Friday.
Associate Justices Stephen Cruz, Edwin Sorongon and Nina Antonino-Valenzuela of the CA Special Fourth Division earlier granted the habeas corpus petition of the six employees of Ilocos Norte local government.
The six employees — Genedine D. Jambaro, Encarnacion A. Gaor, Josephine P. Calajate, Eden C. Battulayan, Evangeline C. Tabuluog, and Pedro S. Agcaoili Jr – have been detained at the Batasan Complex since May 29.
They were cited in contempt by the House committee on good government and public accountability for being “evasive” in responding about alleged misuse of P66.45 million in tobacco funds. The tobacco funds were used by the local government to buy motor vehicles.
The CA earlier directed the House sergeant-at-arms to explain why he should not be cited in contempt for defying the order of the appellate court to present the six employees before the court and eventually release them.
Alvarez said he would not heed the court’s order and called the justices idiots.
The House leader said Valenzuela should have inhibited from the case because her husband was a former law partner of Estelito Mendoza, the former solicitor general and now lawyer of the six employees.
“Delicadeza, dapat nag-inhibit man lang siya diyan, pero hindi nag-inhibit. Ito namang dalawa pang bugok na kasama niya, ay pumanig pa. Dito talaga, malinaw na malinaw talagang gross ignorance of the law ito. Kaya ako, hindi ko ino-honor yung kanilang order na magpost ng bail (for the six employees),” Alvarez said.
“Aakuin ko ‘yan, tingnan natin, sumosobra na ito,” he added.
Alvarez said the appellate court could not invoke that it is a co-equal branch of Congress, because it was not. The CA was created by Congress, and could be dissolved anytime, he said.
“Kaya mag-isip-isip naman sila. Huwag naman iyong ganyan, ito ay ginagawa natin dahil iyon ay ating tungkulin sa bayan,” he said.
He said the purchases of the vehicles in 2011 and 2012 were questionable because there was no bidding.
In an earlier statement, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos said the purchases were aboveboard, using the province’s share from the tobacco excise tax, under Republic Act 7171. The vehicles were distributed to tobacco farmers and barangay officials.