Ilocos Norte dad reminds Fariñas of anomalous transactions as govJun 27, 2017
Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member and Lawyer Da Vinci M. Crisostomo reminds Ilocos Norte 1st District Rep. Rodolfo "Rudy" C. Fariñas of his case with docket no. OMB-97-2150, "Leonardo Velasco versus Rodolfo C. Fariñas," at the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB).
Fariñas, then governor of Ilocos Norte, had been 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 (RA) 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 and emergency hearing last June 20 for 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 confirmed, "Kinapudnona, adda met cash advance ngamin ni Apo Fariñas idi iso ti gobernador a naggapo iti pondo iti 7171." (Sa katunayan, mayroon ding cash advance kasi si Apo Fariñas noong siya ay gobernador na galing sa pondo ng 7171.)
Commission on Audit (COA) Finding 8 under OMB-97-2150 states 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.
"Further, it was noted that 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 also shared that in addition to the Jeep Cherokee, the fund had also been used to purchase a Ford Crown Victoria.
He pointed out that the cash advances in question now, "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."
(Sa administrasyon ni Apo Gobernador Imee, para sa magsasaka. Pero yung mga cinash advance noong panahon ni Fariñas, pinambili ng... isang luxury vehicle [at] isang luxury sports utility vehicle din, para sa personal na use, kaya walang napakinabangan ang mga magsasaka.)
With the case at the Ombudsman, it was employees of the Provincial Government, including two of the "Ilocos Six," who testified and defended then-Governor Fariñas.
"Naawatna diay summons idi Congressman isunan. Madina pulos sinungsungbatan... Binaonna dagiti empleyadotayo ditoy probinsia." (Natanggap niya yung summons noong Congressman na siya. Hindi niya sinagot... Inutos yung mga empleyado natin dito sa probinsiya.)
Crisostomo further emphasized, "Isuda't nangisalakan kenkuana ngem itattan inbaludna man idan." (Sila ang nagligtas sa kanya pero ngayon kinulong niya na naman sila.)
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 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.