Ilocos Sur Gov. Imee Marcos evaded arrest while the so-called Ilocos 6 were freed after 57 days of detention in the House of Representatives following the resumption of the congressional investigation into the anomalous P65 million tobacco excise tax blamed on the provincial government.
On the other hand, the House Committee on Good Government chaired by Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Ty-Pimentel received a wealth of information and evidence that may have affirmed a Commission on Audit report on irregularities it discovered on the purchase of vehicles using the excise tax share of the province.Pimentel said the release of the six Ilocos Norte employes detained for contempt since May 29 and Marcos’ appearance did not end the congressional investigation into the anomalous transactions.
He stressed that the House panel will complete the probe and determine lapses in government procurement and the tobacco excise tax law to be able to recommend legislation that would address them.
Former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile acted as Marcos’ counsel as the governor yielded to a House subpoena that threatened her with arrest if she failed to attend Tuesday’s hearing.
However, the lady governor courted arrest during the hearing when Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Farinas moved to cite her in contempt for refusing to reveal the source of an information she gave media regarding the alleged P100 million bribe given to lawmakers in order to pursue the irregularities.
A newspaper report indicated that the congressional investigation was staged managed by sectors allied with LP in exchange for a P100 million payoff.
Marcos did not deny that she had indeed made the accusation in a media interview but insisted that the information was merely fed to her by a reliable source whose identity she refused to reveal.
“For the last time I plead to you (to reveal your source) since you are not the source yourself. Sino po ang nagsabi sa inyo na may P 100 million na binabayad para kayo ay ipitin ng Kongreso?” warned Farinas after asking her to reveal the source of the alleged information.
It was at this juncture that Marcos sought time to consult with Enrile, her other lawyers and mother former first lady and now Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Romualdez-Marcos.
When the hearing resumed, Marcos apologized to Farinas and the lawmakers, saying that what she stated was a “mere suspicion”.
“I withdraw the accusation that P100 million circulated,” she said.
The good government panel decided to release the six detained Ilocos Norte employees, namely, provincial treasurer Josephine Calajate; Encarnacion Gaor and Genedine Jambaro of the Office of the Provincial Treasurer; budget officer Evangeline Tabulog; Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) chairman and Provincial Planning and Development Office head Engr. PEdro Agcaoili; and Eden Batulayan, OIC of the Provincial Accounting Office.