Marcos supporters ask Gov Imee not to attend House hearing, say case should be brought to CourtJul 10, 2017
Supporters of the Marcos family have called on Ilocos Norte Governor Imee R. Marcos not to attend the hearing before the House of Representatives Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability on July 25.
It involves House Resolution No. 882 introduced by 1st District Rep. Rodolfo "Rudy" C. Fariñas directing the Committee to "to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, in regard to the use by the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) of its shares from the excise taxes on locally manufactured Virginia-type cigarettes or the special support fund under Republic Act No. 7171."
PGIN had used tobacco funds in 2011 and 2012 to purchase motor vehicles which were then delivered to tobacco farmers and barangay captains as post-harvest facilities used in transporting goods from farm to market, and back.
Previous hearings were held on May 2, 16, 29, and on June 20, with the third resulting to the detention of six PGIN employees, dubbed "Ilocos Six," for allegedly refusing to answer questions. Their legal counsels however pointed out that they had not refused to answer, but asked to see original documents before they could confirm or deny anything under oath.
The House Committee had only presented photocopies of vouchers and other documents, claiming that PGIN had lost the originals on purpose; however, the originals had already been submitted to the Commission on Audit (COA) years ago.
Provisional release of the "Ilocos Six" was ordered by the Court of Appeals (CA) early in June and thereafter backed by the Supreme Court (SC), Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), and the Philippine Constitution Association (PHILCONSA), but the House has continually defied the rule of law.
Last week, the House bared to national media a detention room being prepared "just in case" Governor Marcos is cited in contempt and detained; they have also revealed a room ready for the CA justices who ordered the release of the "Ilocos Six."
The Katipunan ng Pilipinong Maka-bayan (KPM) and KAbataan SAndigan at Gabay ng Pilipino Incorporated (KASAGPI), both headed by Mr. Roberto "Ka Obet" Dela Cerna, released a statement saying, "Halatang pamumuliitka ang ibig nito. Kung kumpleto ang ebidensiya, bakit 'di sa Ombudsman at Sandiganbayan at Kataas-taasang Hukuman magsampa ng kaso?"
"Marahil ang anumang pahayag ni Gobernadora Marcos ay wala nang magigign mabuting epekto sapagkat yari na ang kanilang desisyon. Nakakalungkot isipin sa kabila ng kapakaraming nagawa at napatunayan na ng mga Marcos ay may mga taong alipin ng inggit at nagpapagamit sa kapangyarihan ng ilan."
Meanwhile, Mr. Philip Terry of Bayanihan Bayan Movers–Pangasinan Organization of Genuine Inhabitants (BBM-POGI) pointed out, "Alam natin na ang trabaho ng legislative [branch] is to make laws... Kung iyon ang tunay na layunin ng Committee, that would be good, pero kung ang purpose nila ay tulad ng ginawa nila sa 'Ilocos Six,' there's a risk. There is a political vendetta.
"What is the purpose of going there to attend kung in the end, hindi sila maniniwala at iba ang intensyon ng Kamara and that would lead Governor Imee to be detained? Mahirap na," he added, "Kaya may mga napapatawag para tignan kung pwede nilang i-modify ang mga kakulangan ng batas regarding tobacco tax, ganoon sana... pero pinapakita na nga nila yung kulungan. Sine-set na nila ang mind ng mga tao na ganoon ang mangyayari."
Representing youth supporters, Mr. Harrold Toledana of the 31k-strong Buong Bansa Magkaisa (BBM) Youth Movement shared, "Para sa'kin, sana siGovernor, 'wag na siyang um-attend kasi para sa akin, pag-iipit na lang ito na ginagawa ng Kongreso sa kanya... What if kagaya ng ginagawa nila sa 'Ilocos Six,' kapag hindi nasabi kung ano yung gusto nilang marinig eh agad-agad nilang ide-detain. Obvious naman na pinupulitika lang tayo."
He shares KPM and KASAGPI's sentiment that it would be better to bring the case to the judiciary because "wala iyon halong pulitika, masasabi nating very neutral kaya pabor kami kung Korte ang hahawak, mas okay siguro. Siyempre may hustrado, may mga ebidensiya talaga. Hindi kagaya sa Kongreso, sinasabi nilang ebidensiya, puro photocopy lang naman." .