Saturday July 21, 2018

Fariñas, Marcos face each other at House hearing

AMID threats of detention, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos showed up at the House of Representatives on Tuesday to attend a probe initiated by the province's representative Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Fariñas.

Asked by reporters why she decided to attend the inquiry, Marcos said she "respects" the subpoena issued by the House committee on good government and public accountability.

"Wala naman tayong panalo sa Kongreso. Teritoryo nila, pero respeto sa subpoena at pagkakataon na rin magsalita," Marcos said.

The Ilocos official is being investigated over her alleged anomalous utilization of P66.45 million in tobacco funds for the purchase of motor vehicles, which Fariñas said violates the intent of the law governing excise taxes.

Republic Act No 7171 mandates that 15% of tobacco excise taxes "shall be allocated and divided among the provinces producing burley and native tobacco...[and] shall be exclusively utilized for programs to promote economically viable alternatives for tobacco farmers and workers."

Marcos also brought as counsel former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, a former ally of her late father President Ferdinand Marcos.

"I was requested by the governor to assist her in this proceeding. I'm rendering this service to her pro-bono and in grateful appreciation and obligation to her deceased father, former President Ferdinand Marcos, whom I served under in various capacities," Enrile told reporters.

Aside from Enrile, Marcos is being represented by another ally of his father and legal heavyweight Estelito Mendoza in her petition before the Supreme Court in relation the Ilocos fund mess.

Asked about Enrile's presence, Fariñas said Marcos must be "in real deep S*&%" for having the two veteran lawyers by her side.

"She must be in real deep * to have (Estelito) Titong Mendoza and JPE (Enrile) in her corner. And, I thought everything was legal!," Fariñas said in a text message.

Six provincial officials of Ilocos Norte have been detained by the House since May after Fariñas grew dissatisfied with their answers and cited them in contempt. (SunStar Philippines)