Imee won’t snub House hearing over tobacco funds

>> Sunday, July 16, 2017

LAOAG CITY --  Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos Thursday asked the House of Representatives to release the six provincial officials who were cited in contempt over their alleged evasive answers during the congressional inquiry into the reported misuse of tobacco funds.
House leaders have prepared a detention room for Marcos in case she again refuses to attend the congressional inquiry.
“I appeal for humanitarian reasons to the House leadership to set free the Ilocos six. They have suffered more than enough. Please allow them to go home. You have families too and you know the pain of being separated from them,” Marcos said in a statement issued through her lawyer, former solicitor general Estelito Mendoza. 
Marcos said the detention of the provincial employees for over a month now has brought “immeasurable emotional and psychological anguish to them and their families.”
“They have already testified to the best of their knowledge. Forcing them through prolonged detention to give false testimony just to satisfy the committee is tantamount to compelling them to commit perjury. Please, set them free,” she said.
Marcos said the motor vehicles were not overpriced and the transactions were cleared by the Commission on Audit.  
“Are the vehicles missing? They are all accounted for and are being used by the beneficiaries,” she said. 
Marcos said the provincial government is prepared to bring the issue to court if the House committee will continue to reject their explanations. 
“Political vendetta cannot justify putting the legislature and the judiciary on a collision course at the expense of the rights of hapless citizens,” she said.
Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas, a political rival of the Marcoses, initiated the inquiry.
Meanwhile, ABS party-list Rep. Eugene de Vera said they could send uncooperative resource persons to the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP).
De Vera cited a Supreme Court ruling issued on July 1950 that allowed the detention of evasive resource persons at the NBP for six months as well as other court decisions that upheld the contempt powers of Congress.

“We have been following the law from the beginning,“ he said.


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