Gov Marcos on RA 7171 purchases: "Walang ghost project, kasama ko si Fariñas sa distribution"


Jul. 14, 2017 ...

Clearing her name with regard to Ilocos Norte's tobacco funds, a subject of investigation by the House of Representatives, Governor Imee R. Marcos pointed out that 1st District Rep. Rodolfo C. Fariñas was with her during distribution of the vehicles purchased using the special fund.

Fariñas, a former governor of Ilocos Norte and the main political rival of Marcos, introduced House Resolution No. 882 which initiated the investigation into the province's allocation of its tobacco excise taxes or Republic Act (RA) 7171, alleging misuse of funds.

He and Marcos had reconciled, campaigned, and won together in the 2010 elections, but he was removed from the latter's "One Ilocos Norte" slate in 2013.

"Sinasabi nila na hindi raw pwede yung vehicles," said Marcos, pointing out that it clearly states in RA 7171 and in RA 10351, which restructures the alcohol and tobacco excise tax with amendments, "ang liwa-liwanag, pwede namang bigyan ng vehicles kapag bahagi ito ng agricultural transport system, depende sa intended usage and justification para sa intended documents."

She attested to having complete Annual Investment Programs (AIPs), project statements, Sangguniang Panlalawiganordinances, and piles of requests from farmers and barangay captains supporting the purchase of motor vehicles which was then fully liquidated by the Commission on Audit (COA).

"Walang mga hindi na-liquidate. Ibig sabihin, walang ghost project.

"Ang liwa-liwanag dahil 'pag pumunta ka sa Ilocos, makikita mo ang bawat isa sa mga mini-truck na 'yan, 110 mini-trucks, all accounted-for at nandiyan sila, pinakikinabangan, naninilbihan, at talagang ginagamit, sagad-sagad, ng ating mga magsasaka."

Request documents she shared include those coming from Rudys Caesar G. Fariñas II, son of Rep. Fariñas and barangay captain in Laoag City; Jeff Ericson P. Fariñas, the congressman's nephew; and Mikee V. Fariñas, president of the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) in Laoag.

"Noong pinamigay yung mga mini-truck, sino yung tumataginting na konsorte ko dito kundi naman si Congressman Fariñas?" Marcos pointed out, "Kasama ko sa pamimigay. Kasama ko kasi 'One Ilocos Norte' pa kami noon."

"Kwentas klaras kami sa COA"

Marcos also explained yesterday that the COA report clearly shows a presumption of regularity, "at mga auditor ang nagsabi na maayos ang pamamalakad sa pondo."

COA also admitted that no Audit Observation Memorandum (AOM) had been forwarded to the Provincial Government informing them of any anomalous findings.

Rather, COA reports state, "The share from RA 7171 was used in accordance with the prescribed rules and procedures."

Marcos also assured that public bidding through the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS), newspaper, and public display had been done; she further pointed out that a cash advance, the mode of payment for the vehicles using RA 7171, is legal, "sigurado lang for a specific purpose para sa bonded employee at higit sa lahat, fully liquidated."