House panel orders release of ‘Ilocos 6’

MANILA — The House committee on good government and public accountability on Tuesday ordered the release of the six Ilocos Norte provincial government officials, or the so-called “Ilocos 6”.

This after the House panel approved the motion of Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas to lift the contempt order issued to the six Ilocos Norte officials, who finally responded to the questions asked by lawmakers regarding the anomalous purchase of motor vehicles using excise taxes.

“The motion to lift the contempt order to the six officials be therefore moved,” House committee chair and Surigao del Norte Rep. Johnny Pimentel said during the fourth hearing into the provincial government’s alleged misuse of tobacco excise funds amounting to PHP66.45 million.

The six provincial government officials had been in House detention since May 29 after they were held in contempt for giving “evasive answers”.

The six Ilocos Norte officials who were detained at the Batasan Complex in Quezon City include provincial treasurer Josephine Calajate; provincial budget officer Evangeline Tabulog; provincial planning and development office chair Pedro Agcaoili; and Provincial Treasurer’s Office employees Genedine Jambaro, Encarnacion Gaor, and Eden Battulayan. Filane Mikee Cervantes/