Barangay, SK polls/ Rep Farinas’ past haunts him

>> Saturday, June 16, 2018

Alfred P. Dizon

With barely a week left in June, the Commission on Elections has urged legislators to decide soon whether or not the Oct. 23 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections will push through.
Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said the poll body needs to know the decision because the commission is set to start printing of official ballots on July 20.
“Although we’ve never slowed down in our preparations, we still have not spent much. But on July 20, we’ll start the printing so we hope we’ll know if the elections will be postponed or not,” he said. He said most of the expenses incurred by the Comelec were for voter’s registration, which could also be used for the 2019 midterm polls. 
There are pending bills at the Senate and at the House of Representatives to move this year’s elections to October 2018 and to May 2020, respectively.
Even President Duterte has recommended the postponement, claiming that the barangay polls have become entry points of those involved in the drug trade into mainstream politics.
Administration officials had proposed appointment of barangay officials but this was met by protests.   Bautista had reserved an opinion on whether the polls should be shelved or not, underscoring that Comelec is bound to follow laws.
“We don’t want to be wasting money during the preparation but if there is no decision by July 20, we will start the printing of ballots,” he added.
He also maintained the Comelec does not want to be pressed for time in case they go slow on the preparations and Congress decides to continue with this year’s elections. It would do well for the House to start addressing the issue s time is of the essence.
Up north in Ilocos Norte, past dealings of 1st District Rep. Rodolfo “Rudy” C.  Fariñas  are being brought to fore after he initiated detention of six employees of the provincial government by the House of Representatives over “misuse” of tobacco excise tax funds. 
Sangguniang Panlalawigan member Da Vinci M. Crisostomo, a lawyer reminded Farinas of his case with docket no. OMB-97-2150 "Leonardo Velasco versus Rodolfo C. Fariñas," at the Office of the Ombudsman.
Fariñas, then governor of Ilocos Norte, was charged in 2002 with "illegal use of public funds" in connection with the purchase of a brand new 1995 Jeep Cherokee Laredo using a cash advance sourced from Republic Act 7171, or the Tobacco Excise Tax.
The said Cherokee purchase was mentioned by one of the "Ilocos Six" employees of the provincial government during the House of Representatives committee on good government and public accountability's fourth emergency hearing last June 20 on House Resolution No. 882 investigating Ilocos Norte's "alleged misuse" of tobacco funds.
"Mayroon ding special cash advance, long, long time ago, even yung purchase ng vehicle kahit noon pa. Kahit noong previous administrations," said Eden Battulayan, officer in charge of the Provincial Accounting Office.
"Yung Cherokee, Sir," she had answered when Fariñas probed her.
Crisostomo said , "Kinapudnona, adda met cash advance ngamin ni Apo Fariñas idi iso ti gobernador a naggapo iti pondo iti 7171." (The truth is there was cash advance of Farinas when he was then governor which came from 7171.)”
Commission on Audit Finding 8 under OMB-97-2150 stated regarding the Cherokee purchase: "There was no approved contract or purchased order perfected but instead there were communications between the contracting parties through fax and pro-forma invoices.
"It was noted there was no approval from the Department of Budget and Management and the Office of the President for the purchase of the car in violation of NBC No. 446 series of 1995."
Crisostomo said in addition to the Jeep Cherokee, the fund had also been used to purchase a Ford Crown Victoria.
Citing cash advances in question now, he said: "Iti administrasion ni Apo Gobernador Imee, para iti agtaltalon. Ngem dagiti in-cash advance da idi panawen ni Fariñas, ingatangda ti maysa a luxury vehicle ken maysa a luxury sports utility vehicle met lang, para iti personal nga use, so awan ti pagsayaatan iti agtaltalon.
 (Under the administration of Gov. Imee (Marcos), it was for the farmers. The cash advances they got at the time of Farinas as governor, they bought a luxury vehicle and another sports utility vehicle for personal use. So there was no benefit for farmers.)”
In Farinas’ case at the Ombudsman, it was employees of the provincial government, including two of the "Ilocos Six," who reportedly testified and defended then the governor.
"Naawatna diay summons idi Congressman isunan. Madina pulos sinungsungbatan (He got the summons when he was congressman. He sent provincial employees instead. They were the ones who defended him at that time. Now he detained them.)”
He was referring to the congressman's previous illegal detention charges and subsequent jailing, also during his term as governor, which locals know as "Voltez V" as he would allegedly lock employees inside a large room or vault. His late wife Maria Theresa Carlson had also accused him then of torturing her.
Meanwhile, the same OMB memorandum detailing both the Cherokee and Crown Victoria purchases had charged Fariñas with seven more cases of illegal use of public funds as well as violation of RA 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.


  © Blogger templates Palm by 2008

Back to TOP  

Web Statistics