House summons Imee Marcos over Ilocos Norte excise tax funds

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 28 2017 11:08 PM

The House of Representatives on Wednesday issued a subpoena for Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos to attend the July 25 hearing of the Committee on Good Government on provincial excise tax funds.

The supboena was signed by committee chairman Rep. Johnny Pimentel and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

“You are hereby directed to appear before the Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability of the House of Representatives to testify under oath relative to the subject matter under inquiry on the Committee Hearing scheduled on July 25, 2017, 930a.m. at the Conference Room 1 and 2 Ramon Mitra Building, House of Representatives, Batasan Pambansa Complex, Constitution Hills, Quezon City. Failure to comply with this order is subject to penalty under the law,” the subpoena read.

Marcos has been the subject of an investigation called for by her provincial political rival, House majority leader and Ilocos Norte 1st district Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas. 

Fariñas got the committee to investigate the alleged misuse of some P66.4 million in cigarette excise funds by the provincial government in the purchase of vehicles without a public bidding.

Despite having been served a subpoena by the committee last May 30, Marcos has repeatedly said she will skip the hearing, citing concerns by her family that she may be detained like the 6 provincial employees who refused to answer questions on the transactions in question.

House officials have repeatedly warned Marcos that disobeying a subpoena merits detention by the House.

Marcos and Fariñas are on their last terms and are expected to vie for other positions.

Fariñas was declared persona non grata by the Ilocos Norte Provincial Board on Tuesday, as the House of Representatives continued to hold six provincial officers for their alleged refusal to cooperate in the house probe.

Earlier Wednesday, the Ilocos Norte provincial government revealed that the provincial board passed a resolution last June 20, which reiterated their request to the Ombudsman to investigate the case of the missing Laoag City Treasurer Elena V. Asuncion and around P85.4 million, which were discovered in June 2016.

Board Member Toto Lazo said the investigation into Laoag City's missing funds has to be fast-tracked for people to know who must be accused, whether for a criminal or an administrative case.

Lazo also said Fariñas filed HR No. 882 that called for the House probe last March 14, a day after the National Bureau of Investigation's report on the case of Laoag City's funds was released.

Lazo said Elena, the missing treasurer, has a child with the surname of Fariñas.

Thus, the provincial board is also studying the possibility of asking Congress to investigate and possibly amend the Anti-Nepotism Law to include within its scope kin who are products of common law unions.

The Anti-Nepotism Law prohibits the appointment of family members, whether by consanguinity or affinity, to government positions.