By Ben Rosario
Despite a Court of Appeals (CA) order for their release, the six Ilocos Norte Capitol employees detained at the House of Representatives remain in detention after the court sheriff securing their freedom was denied entry at the Batasan Compound in Quezon City late Friday afternoon.
Sources at the Batasan said the unidentified sheriff, escorted by lawyers of the six employees and court officers, were unable to secure the release of the petitioners of the petition for the writ of habeas corpus.
“So far, I have checked there is no order from the Speaker for the release of the six employees,” said Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Ty-Pimentel, chairman of the House Committee on Good Government and Accountability.
However, Pimentel admitted that he had heard reports that a CA release order had indeed been issued.
Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas said he has not been informed about the CA directive.
The CA Fourth Division directed the release of the detained employees after House Sergeant-at-Arms Roland Detabali failed to show up in three court hearings called by the appellate court since last week.
The six Ilocos Norte employees who have sought judicial intervention to gain freedom will remain in the custody of the House of Representatives even if they win an affirmative ruling from the CA.
In fact, the Lower House leadership appeared to have defied even basic summonses sent by the CA to present the six Ilocos Norte before the court.
Pimentel said the Lower House leadership has decided to ignore court orders directing the Chamber to free the six detained employees.
“We do not recognize the jurisdiction of the court. The power of contempt is not subject to judiciary review as stated in various jurisprudence of the Supreme Court,” Pimentel said.
He added: “We belong to co-equal branches of government. Congress has its own rules to follow.”
He added that the legal impasse will be considered an important test case that the Supreme Court may look into.
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