Ilocos prov’l board declares Fariñas ‘persona non grata’

>> Tuesday, July 4, 2017

‘Ilocos 6’ to CA: Resolve habeas corpus plea

LAOAG CITY -- The Ilocos Norte Provincial Board or Sangguniang Panlalawigan Tuesday declared 1st District Rep. Rodolfo “Rudy” C. Fariñas “persona non grata” for instigating detention of six provincial officials by the House of Representatives over alleged misuse of tobacco excise funds.
This, as the six detained Ilocos Norte officials asked the Court of Appeals to resolve their habeas corpus petition and order their permanent release.
In a 18-page motion filed on June 23, the provincial officials urged the special fourth division of the appellate court to declare their continued detention as illegal and a form of torture.
Meanwhile, Resolution No. 2017-06081 declaring Farinas persona non grata was sponsored by SP member  Vicentito “Toto” M. Lazo, a lawyer and Vice Gov. Angelo Marcos Barba.
The legal term “persona non grata” means “unwelcome person,” implying that a person declared as such is not welcome in entering its jurisdiction after their ordinances and laws were violated by the individual.
But SP member Da Vinci M. Crisostomo, also a lawyer clarified the congressman is not prohibited from entering the province. He said the declaration was made to  “manifest or express our sentiments” and provincial constituents towards Fariñas.
Fariñas earlier initiated a congressional inquiry regarding Ilocos Norte alleged misuse of tobacco funds under Republic Act (RA) 7171, citing in contempt the six employees.
Dubbed  ‘Ilocos Six,’ the six employees are still detained at the House after the last hearing on May 29.
The “coercive interrogation” that the six in Congress and detention have been labeled as mental and psychological torture by their legal counsels.
The House committee on good government and public accountability sergeant-at-arms have defied the Court of Appeals order for the employees’ provisional release, with Speaker of the House Pantaleon Alvarez accusing three CA justices of “gross ignorance of the law.”
The Supreme Court has backed up CA, calling the House to reconsider the show cause order issued against the justices who issued the release order of the ‘Ilocos Six’.
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines also released a statement citing adherence to the “rule of law,” adding the CA has “authority to grant in habeas corpus proceedings unless detained person is under a charge for an offense punishable by death.”
In addition, the president of the IBP–Ilocos Norte Chapter said “if the writ of habeas corpus was already issued, then it should be immediately executory, even pending appeal or motion for reconsideration, owing to the fact that the life and liberty of the detained persons are at stake.” 
Former solicitor general Estelito Mendoza, lawyer of the Ilocos 6, in a motion,  told the CA: “The four weeks the petitioners spent in detention is time lost which petitioners could never recover. The honorable court, by exercising its power to issue the extraordinary writ of habeas corpus, may still relieve petitioners of the protracted and arbitrary deprivation of their liberty,” the motion filed by the lead counsel of the officials,
A writ of habeas corpus, which literally means to “produce the body,” is an order to deliver a detained person to a court.
The provincial officials said previous CA orders were futile because the House leadership ignored them.
 Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, CA Presiding Justice Andres Reyes Jr. and the board of governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines earlier asked the House to recall its show cause order against the CA justices and just avail of remedies under the rules of court.


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