Ilocos Norte board ready to face Fariñas' charges

Kim Lorenzo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 28 2017 04:18 PM

Majority Leader Rudy Farinas. ABS-CBN News

ILOCOS NORTE - Members of the Ilocos Norte provincial board said they are ready to face charges for passing a resolution declaring First District Representative and House Majority Leader Rudy Fariñas persona non grata on Tuesday.

Fariñas vowed to sue those who supported Board Member Toto Lazo's resolution to declare him unwelcome in his home province.

Board members Da Vinci Crisostomo, James Paul Nalupta, Mariano Marcos, Paul Baltazar, Donald Nicolas, Ramon Gaoat and Rogelio Balbag voted in favor of the resolution.

In the resolution, Lazo said Fariñas did not follow the rule of law when he accused the capitol of misusing P66.4 million in tobacco excise tax funds to acquire vehicles more than five years ago. He also questioned the move to detain six provincial officers for failing to answer questions at the House inquiry.

The House has refused to let go of the detained officers despite a release order from the Court of Appeals.

Crisostomo, chairman of the Committee on Laws, said they are prepared for the possible complaint against them but doubts that Fariñas is sincere about his threat.

"Sabi ko nga noon first hearing doon sa committee on Good Government sa Congress, if you have enough evidence go to court never mind this investigation, this inquiry before the committee. Sabi niya okay, I'l do that, I will go to court. Hanggang ngayon hindi pa siya pumupunta wala pa siyang fina-file na kaso. Siguro this thing will be the same. Sabi niya kakasuhan kami baka hindi rin niya gagawin," the board member said.

Crisostomo, however, said they are ready in case Fariñas files a lawsuit against them.

"Of course, 'yun rules of law ang susundin namin hindi yun rules of committee or whatever body," the official said.

Fariñas earlier dismissed the board resolution, saying it would not affect his constituency work in the province. He also asserted his standing as an elected official and a citizen. 

"I am a citizen of this country and no one, especially Sangguniang Panlalawigan members, can declare me, or any other citizen of this country, a persona non grata," he said when sought for comment. 

The decision to declare Fariñas persona non grata is the latest episode in a political war between Fariñas, a long-time Ilocos politician, and Ilocos Governor Imee Marcos, who are seen headed for a showdown in the next elections.