MANILA - The House of Representatives Committee on Good Government on Tuesday ordered the release of 6 Ilocos Norte provincial government officers held for nearly two months for purportedly refusing to cooperate in its hearing on the alleged misuse of P66.45 million in tobacco excise tax funds from 2011 to 2012.
Ilocos Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas moved for the release of the so-called Ilocos 6 after the officials "regained their memory" and spoke the truth during the House panel probe.
Ordered released Ilocos Norte financial officers Pedro Agcaoili, Evangeline Tabulog, Josephine Calajate, Eden Battulayan, Genedine Jambaro, and Encarnacion Gaor.
The House committee held the officials for refusing to respond to questions at a hearing on May 29. They were detained despite a release order from the Court of Appeals.
In a congressional committee probe Tuesday, the officers admitted holding government funds allotted for the purchase of 70 mini trucks through cash advances.
Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos earlier in the hearing said the purchase of 70 mini trucks by the provincial government did not undergo proper bidding process.
"Yung 2 transactions, direct contracting. Direct contracting is something that the BAC (Bids and Awards Committee) recommended that we had to resort to because there was only a single supplier that can comply with the requirements," she explained.