The House of Representatives has recommended the filing of graft and other criminal and administrative charges against Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos over the alleged misuse of the province’s P66.45-million tobacco excise tax collection.
The House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability report, which the chamber adopted, said the Ilocos Norte provincial government’s purchase of 10 Foton minicabs violated several laws, including Republic Act 7171 or the law specifying the usage of the tobacco excise tax, Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act, and Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code.
It called the purchase of vehicles “highly irregular and illegal.”
While the report did not list the names of the people it recommended to be charged, it said government officials and private individuals involved in the purchase of the vehicles should face criminal and administrative charges.
The House panel last year launched a probe on the alleged anomalous use of Ilocos Norte’s tobacco excise tax collection.
Marcos attended the probe after six provincial staff members were detained by the committee over their refusal to answer certain questions.
Over the course of its investigation, the House committee found that the provincial government bought vehicles even though it was not for the benefit of tobacco farmers.
“It was admitted that the motor vehicles were distributed to barangay and municipalities without specifying that tobacco farmers directly benefitted therefrom,” the report read.
The panel also found that the contract for the purchase of vehicles did not undergo public bidding and there was no ordinance passed for it.
Referring to Marcos, the report said: “The actions of the local chief executive were ultra vires (beyond her legal powers) because no authority was given to her by the Sanggunian through an appropriation ordinance,” the report read.