Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos has sought the protection of the Supreme Court from the congressional probe led by provincial political rival, House Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas.
Marcos’ camp filed an omnibus petition today at the Supreme Court asking the Court to issue a writ of amparo or protection order from threats including detention for Marcos as well as the 6 provincial employees detained by the Lower House.
Marcos and the 6 are petitioners in the omnibus petition which seeks 3 things: 1—the Supreme Court should take over the habeas corpus petition filed by the 6 provincial employees that are pending before the Court of Appeals; 2 the issuance of a restraining order against the conduct of the congressional investigation of the Ilocos Norte excise tax funds which they claim was inquisitorial. They want the hearing to be done in accordance with the constitution and the rules of the House ; and the 3. a writ of amparo that seeks to protect Marcos from initimidation and harassment and guarantee their personal security.
“ito ang aming petition omnibus petition para sa Ilocos 6. para sa akin din bilang co-petitioner sa civil action for prohibition at para sa lahat ng petitioner Ilocos 6 kasama na rin ako na di amang hinusgahan kungdi ikukulong pa ng madalian. petition for the writ of amparo”
Marcos denies allegations that her government anomalously purchased some 66.45M pesos worth of vehicles from provincial excise tax funds without the benefit of a public bidding and outside the intended use of Republic Act 7171.
Marcos added she wants to go to the July 25 hearing of the Lower House despite advice that she skip the hearing because she maybe detained. Marcos said among the advice is she be deposed or a tetsimony be done electronically from the provincial capitol. “gusto kong pumunta pinagpupilitan ko pumunta pero maraming nagsasabi sa akin dont attend. ako gusto ko pumunta. ako talagang nais kong pumunta. napakaelaborate na ng advice nila kung ano anong advice binibigay sa akin sabi sakin magpadepose manatili ako sa ilcoso norte capitol humingi ng question doon ako papainterrogate. may nagsasbai may high tech na video conferencing. I would prefer to go gusto kong pumunta“
Marcos added, “bongbong said you should be careful think about it mahirap magsalita baka sabihin obstruction of justices na yung pobre eh nag aadvice lang at nagsabsi ng brotherly at family concern. “
Marcos broke her silence on national media regarding the allegations levelled against her by provincial political rival, House Majority Leader and IIocos Norte 1st district Rep. Rodolfo Farinas. Farinas filed the resolution that got the House Committee on Good Government to probe the matter. the committee detained the 6 after they refused to answer questions on the transactions in question.
Brandishing supporting documents from the COA, Marcos stressed that several COA reports have declared that the provincial government spent its finances well and observed that the funds were used legally and that no notice of disallowance have been issued. Marcos says the COA says their transactions enjoy presumption of regularity.“kwentas klaras kami COA at narito ang aming mga COA report. ang liwaliwanag at talagang pinaninindigan namin na lagi kami hindi nagkakaprublema sa COA.. sabi walang bidding maliwanag naman may bidding kaya nga lang si Ka Peter ang aming BAC chairman ay di hinayaang magsalita. May bidding maliwanag yan.”
Marcos says the audit observation memo being cited in Congress is unsigned. Marcos explained that all original checks and vouchers were turned over to COA which is the one that lost the documents. “ang coa raw ang nakawala at sila naman ang nag aamin na ito ang nangyari.
Marcos stressed that cash advances are a recognzied legal form of purchasing and simply using cash advance is not a proof of corruption. Marcos maintains everything has been liquidated. however she declined to answer why she had to resort to a cash advance, stressing its part of their legal defense. Marcos added that all 110 trucks are fully accounted for and that these are being used by farners for their work as part of the agricultural transport system to transport crops, produce and fertilizers. these are allowed because of their usage and justification. “ di ibig sabihin pag kinash ibibulsa mo na, nanakawin mo na. nasa batas yan it is a recognized mode of payment na legal na sigurado for a specific purpose. sabi ng COA fully liquidated yan.”
“maski sa 10351 ang liwaliwanag pwede naman bigyan ng vehicles pagka bahagi ito ng agricultural transport systemd epende sa intended usage and justification”
asked why she resorted to cash advances, Marcos replied, “ang cash advance ay kiallang manner of paying nasa batas yan maliwanag yan alam natin madalas humihingi ang supplier ng cash advance dahil ang cheke ng gubyerno ay pagkatagal tagal magclear. pagtiyagaan mo na lang pinagbabawalan ako ng gubyerno na magdaldal ng magdaldal dahil nasa kaso yan. di pa naman kaso pero nasa imbestigasyon ng House. yung cash advance is a legal mode of payment. lahat ng cash advance ay fully liquidated.
Marcos added among those who requested the minitrucks and multicap are Farinas’ own son Rudy Csar Farinas and nephew Jeffrey erickson farinas and mikey farinas.
Marcos cites an affidavit of one Pedro Gorospe Jr who admitted he was ordered by Cynthia Grorspe, a coordinator of Congressman Farinas to photocopy the documents now being shown in the Lower House.
Marcos it is Farinas who had been charged in court for violations of RA 7171 in the purchase of luxury vehicles when he was governor. “kaya nung heraing ng june 20 di nakatiis yung isang accountant namin ang sabi sir nagpacash advance ka rin ng RA 7171 nung governor kayo kaya lang ang binili di para sa magsasaka kungdi luxury vehicle andito yung kaso sa sandigan ang pangalan ay eto nga Velasco vs Farinas at maliwanag dito na may For crowne victoria 2 luxury jeep na cherokee at higit sa lahat speedboat.”
Marcos told media that the matter has affected the delivery of public services in the province, since the 6 officials, whom she decsribed at 5 lola at 1 lolo, are officials of the provincial finance committee. “wala na halos gamot sa 5 ospital at 2 clinic kulang kulan na ang gasolina at ang mga kapulisan ay nagrereklamo ng todo pati yung inaasahang sahod ng mga summer jobs at inaasahan para sa pagtusotos ng tuition ay naalintana. kung may terorismo sa marawi mayroon namang hostage crisis sa Kongreso”
Marcos deplored the Lower House’s defiance of the orders of the CA to grant the habeas corpus petition of the 6 3 times. “wag sanang papalag ang ating mga justices.”
Marcos amplified this all began with local politics connected to the 2019 elections which has been dragged into the House of Representatives. Marcos revealed she acceded to back out of the 2019 congressional race in the first district where she is registered at the insistence of the Farinas camp, to allow Farinas’ daughter Ria to succeed her father who is term limited. Marcos says they can discuss the matter of Farinas being governor, stressing she won’t cling to provincial power. Marcos says she’s heard Farinas wants to be Ombudsman. Marcos claims Farinas likes to brag to be the real speaker of the House. “local politics lang ang pinagmulan nito . kinaladkad sa Kongreso. bakit pinaghahatihatian at kaharian ba ng sino ang Ilocos Norte? hindi kami naghahariharian diyan”
Marcos hit back at the criticisms of the CA justices who granted the habeas corpus petition and the threat of impeachment against the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Lourdes Sereno, who has asked the House to seek other remedies.
Both Marcos and Farinas are Duterte allies. Marcos says she doesnt want to drag Duterte into the fray.
In a statement released to media, Mindoro Oriental Rep. Paulino Salvador “Doy” Leachon , on Thursday expressed frustration with Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos’ refusal to participate in the congressional inquiry looking into the irregularities invoking the province’s purchase of 115 vehicles worth 66.5 million pesos using proceeds from Ilocos Norte’s share in tobacco excise taxes.
“Gov. Marcos has been given numerous opportunities to present her side to Congress but she has repeatedly refused our invitations,” said Leachon, who said that Congress would give Gov. Marcos a venue to present evidence in her defense.
“She says she has proof that the transactions were above-board and consistent with the law; if that’s the case, then she can share these with us. She spoke for 30 minutes straight during her presscon, and we have no problem giving her an hour to speak if it will shed light on the irregularities we have discovered,” added the solon.
“Perhaps Gov. Imee prefers to speak in press conferences because it’s a one-way street; in Congress, she can be asked questions, issues can be further explored. Baka dito sya kinakabahan.”
The legislator said that Marcos’ dilatory tactics and constant efforts to dodge Congress reinforced suspsicions that the transactions of the province under her watch were questionable.
“If she is confident that she and her team did nothing wrong and everything is in order, then she has no reason to evade the summons of Congress. Governors have been invited to Congress before and they have participated in inquiries like these without fanfare or furor. Why should Gov. Imee any different? Does being a Marcos make her above the law? Sa pagkakalam ko, matagal nang tapos ang Marcos Dictatorship.”
Among incumbent governors who have appeared before Congress in the past are former Pampanga Gov. Mark Lapid, former former Bulacan Gov. Joselito Mendoza, and former Iloilo Gov. Niel Tupas Sr.
Leachon, a lawyer who is a vice chair of the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability said that it was ironic that Marcos, who was once a member of Congress, would disrespect the institution she once served.
“If she loves the institution as she said, then she should accord it the respect it deserves. As a former legislator, she should recognize the mandate of Congress and should appreciate its power to call on individuals who can provide information it needs for investigations in aid of legislation,” said Leachon.
The congressman from the first district of Oriental Mindoro said that if Marcos wanted to find a culprit behind the problems now faced in the operations of the Ilocos Norte provincial government, “she should look in the mirror.”
“We have reached this point because Gov. Marcos has refused to cooperate with the inquiry. If she and her finance team cooperated with the inquiry, there would be no need to issue subpoenas, nor would there be a need to detain people. This is all on her for refusing to take responsibility for her actions,” lamented the solon.
“Umabot tayo dito dahil kay Gov. Marcos, hindi dahil sa Kongreso. Kailangan lang ni Gov. Marcos magpakita, magpaliwanag, makipag-usap; mahirap ba yun?”