House panel summons Imee Marcos, detains 6 prov'l officer

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Gov. Imee Marcos (file)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 29) — Members of a House body investigating an alleged misuse of Ilocos Norte tobacco funds apparently ran out of patience on Monday and came out with an order to summon the province's governor and detain six provincial employees.

The House Committee on Good Government ordered to subpoena Ilocos Gov. Imee Marcos after she failed to show up in three committee hearings on a ₱66-million purchase of government vehicles using money earmarked to help out tobacco farmers.

House Majority Leader Rudy Fariñas, who initiated the inquiry, earlier claimed that Marcos committed plunder, technical malversation, and violation of the procurement act when she spent more the amount from tobacco excise tax to buy 40mini-cabs, 5 secondhand buses, and 70 foton mini-trucks.

Marcos had earlier sent a letter to the committee during its second hearing last May 16 questioning the authority of the panel to hold such an investigation, as well as the purpose of the said hearing.

Fariñas and Marcos were decades-old political allies until they parted ways last year.

Meanwhile, for refusing to answer questions, the House Majority Leader also moved to cite for contempt and detain six Ilocos Norte provincial officers. Members of the committee unanimously approved the motion to detain the following:

Engr. Pedro Agacoili - Bids and Awards Committee chairman

Josephine Calajate - provincial treasurer

Genedine Jambaro - Office of the Provincial Treasurer

Encarnacion Gaor - Office of the Provincial Treasurer

Evangeline Tabulog - provincial budget officer

Eden Battulayan - Accountant IV, Provincial Accounting Office

The six had repeatedly said that they couldn't remember details about the transaction since it has been made several years ago.

For Fariñas, they were obviously lying. And unless they'd decide to talk, the lawmaker said the provincial officers might be detained at the House until July, when Congress would convene for the second regular session

CNN Philippines' Joyce Ilas contributed to this report.