Ilocos Norte declares Congressman Fariñas as “Persona non Grata”

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The Ilocos Norte Provincial Board or Sangguniang Panlalawigan today approved Resolution No. 2017-06081, which declares 1st District rep. Rodolfo “Rudy” C. Fariñas as “persona non grata.”

The resolution is sponsored by SP Member and Lawyer Vicentito “Toto” M. Lazo and Vice Governor Angelo Marcos Barba.

Governor Imee R. Marcos and Provincial Board Members hold a press conference addressing the issue of the House of Representatives’ ongoing investigation into the Provincial Government’s use of tobacco funds and continuous detention of the “Ilocos Six.”

Technically, the legal term “persona non grata” means “unwelcome person,” implying that a certain individual [declared as persona non grata] is being prohibited by the government from entering its jurisdiction after their ordinances and laws were violated by that individual.

However, fellow SP Member and Lawyer Da Vinci M. Crisostomo clarified that the motion “persona non grata” to the Congressman does not prohibit the Congressman from entering the province; rather, it was made to “manifest or express our sentiments” towards Fariñas.

“Well, this is in the form of a resolution, and under the parliamentary rules, it is a manifestation or expression of our feelings towards the subject person. So, ang gustong palabasin ng SP, whose members were directly elected by the people of the Province of Ilocos Norte and representing our constituents, ay yung mga damdamin at saloobin ng buong probinsiya,” he added.

Fariñas earlier initiated a congressional inquiry regarding Ilocos Norte alleged misuse of tobacco funds under Republic Act (RA) 7171, citing in contempt six employees of the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte.

Dubbed as ‘Ilocos Six’, the six employees are continuously being detained under the custody of the House after the last hearing on May 29.

The coercive interrogation that the Six underwent in Congress and their subsequent detention in conditions compromising their welfare have been labelled as mental and psychological torture by their legal counsels.

Moreover, House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability as well as the Sergeant-at-Arms have defied the Court of Appeals (CA)’s order for the six employees’ provisional release, with Speaker of the House Pantaleon Alvarez even accusing three CA justices of “gross ignorance of the law.”

The Supreme Court (SC) 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 (IBP) also released a statement emphasizing adherence to the “rule of law”, further reiterating that the CA has the “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 had initially expressed that “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.” –PGIN – Communications and Media Office

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