MANILA - Political rivals House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas and Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos on Wednesday clashed over the disbursement of a lump sum and use of the letters “P-IMEE” for the latter's pet projects in the province.
At the continuation of the House of Representatives inquiry into the P66.4-million Ilocos Norte tobacco excise tax mess on Wednesday, Fariñas questioned the legal basis of P-IMEE or the Programang Ikauunlad ng Mamamayan, Ekonomiya, at Ekolohiya, as well as the alleged lump sum appropriated for it.
Marcos explained that the program was created through a provincial ordinance passed in September 2010 and was merely a branding for programs requested by citizens.
She pointed out that Fariñas and his daughter Ria, also a politician, had also used acronyms that spell out their names-- "RUDIF" and "RIA"-- for their own projects.
"The name given was P-IMEE. Siguro nagpapauso lang 'yun. Siyempre, inuuso rin natin 'yung mga pangalan natin," she said.
"Hindi ho ba may project kayo dati na may RUDIF (Rural Urban Development Infrastructure Fund,) kayo?" she added.
But Fariñas defended his use of an acronym akin to his name, saying he has not used government funds for it.
"Yes, ma'am pero hindi po sa paggamit ng pera. 'Yung acronym parang Rudy Fariñas, pero wala pong pumupuntang pera doon. Sa P-IMEE kasi, daan-daang milyon po ang napunta diyan," he said.
Farinas alleged that P57 million in lump sums have been directed to the P-IMEE project, contrary to regulations against the use of such manner of funding in government.
"For that ordinance, you appropriated so many millions of pesos for P-IMEE, eh 'di lump sum na 'yun," he said.
Marcos however explained that lump sums are not prohibited in the local government since they follow a process.
"I think hindi naman po bawal ang lump sum. Andiyan sa mga local government, may mga lump sum pero may prosesong sinusundan," she said, noting that they submit an annual investment program, annual procurement program, and project statements as supporting documents among others.