House panel orders release of 'Ilocos 6'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 25) — Six Ilocos Norte government employees detained for their involvement in the alleged misuse of tobacco funds, were ordered released Tuesday by lawmakers.

After 55 days of detention in the Batasang Pambansa, the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability released the so-called 'Ilocos 6', after answering questions on the issue from House Majority Leader Rudy Farinas.

The six government employees were detained in the lower house complex when they refused to answer questions on the procurement of P66.45-million worth of vehicles by the Ilocos provincial government through the province's tobacco excise tax shares.

Ilocos Governor Imee Marcos appeared Tuesday before the House panel to answer questions, after being summoned three times but failing to appear.

She insisted that there was no corruption in the purchase of the vehicles.

Farinas apologized to the six employees, explaining that the House panel needed to detain them to preserve the integrity of the lower chamber.

This is a developing story. Please refresh the page for updates.

CNN Philippines' Correspondent Joyce Ilas contributed to this report.