Imee Marcos brings 'Ilocos 6' detention case to SC

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 13) — Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos filed a petition seeking Supreme Court intervention for the release of six Ilocos Norte government employees detained at the House of Representatives over an alleged multimillion-peso tobacco fund misuse.

Marcos' 67-page petition on the so-called "Ilocos 6" asked the high court to take jurisdiction over the habeas corpus case pending before the Court of Appeals.

The provincial employees have been detained at the House of Representatives since May 29 after the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability cited them in contempt. The Court of Appeals ordered their temporary release, but the House ignored this.

Marcos said the issue should just be settled within her province, as she believes it is politically motivated.

"Ang alam natin lahat ay lahat ito pulitikang lokal. Local politics ang pinagmulan nito. Kinalakadkad sa Kongreso at inapi pa ang mga kawalang laban-laban na mga empleyado," she said in a media conference.

[Translation: We know this is just local politics. But we're dragging the issue to Congress, and the employees which have no means to fight back are being oppressed.]

House Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte Rep.Rudy Fariñas is a member of the committee. He reportedly cut ties with the Marcoses in 2015.

The committee summoned Marcos on May 29, but she did not appear in three hearings. She said her brother, former Senator Bongbong Marcos, advised against it.

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

The petition also sought to issue a writ of amparo against Fariñas, House Commitee on Good Government and Public Accountability Chair Johnny Pimentel, and House Sergeant-at-Arms Ronald Detabali. The writ of amparo is a judicial remedy to protect one's life, liberty and security.

Marcos also asked to stop the House hearings.

"Hinihingi po natin dito na pigilan po ang hindi makatarungang pag-conduct ng kanilang imbestigasyon na ngayon ay hindi na lang imbestigasyon kundi inquisition na po. Tinutugis na po ang mga testigo. At tinatakot po si Governor Imee," said Bayan Quinones, Marcos' lawyer.

[Translation: We're asking to stop the unfair conduct in investigation, that is more of an inquisition than an investigation. Governor Imee is being threatened, witnesses are being pursued.]

The governor is scheduled to appear in a July 25 House hearing. If Marcos skips it again, she may be arrested.

No illegal spending

Marcos pointed out there was nothing illegal about the P66-million tobacco fund spent for minicabs, minitrucks, and buses.

"Kwentas klaras kami sa COA (Commission on Audit). 'Yan ay maliwanag sa akin," she said.

[Translation: We're cleared by COA, that's what's clear to me.]

Marcos added the son and relatives of Fariñas also requested multicabs from her, even showing pictures of Fariñas during the turnover of vehicles.

But in a Thursday statement, Fariñas said Marcos should appear in the House inquiry if what she says is true.

"Why has she ordered her 6 subordinates not to remember the 3 transactions subject of the inquiry? Finally, if the 3 transactions were all legal, why do they continue to invoke their right against self-incrimination?" Fariñas said.

Fariñas said Marcos "personally requested" for the purchase of 70 Foton minitrucks, but not a single vehicle was delivered to Ilocos.

"This is a clear falsification of public documents and ghost delivery of 70 Foton Mini Trucks," Fariñas said.

CNN Philippines' Joyce Ilas contributed to this report.