Imee Marcos says sorry for bribery tale against lawmakers
Faced with the prospect of being cited in contempt, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos on Tuesday apologized for accusing the Liberal Party of bribing lawmakers with P100 million to have her detained in connection with the House inquiry into the alleged misuse of P66.45-million tobacco funds for minicabs, buses and mini-trucks.
In Tuesday’s hearing into the alleged anomaly, Majority Leader Rudy Fariñas threatened to cite Marcos in contempt if she didn’t reveal the source of the allegation that “yellow forces” gave out P100 million to certain members of Congress.
Marcos initially refused to reveal her source while apologizing to lawmakers if the allegation offended them.
“I apologize to the congressmen if this is offensive — na may bayaran. Ngunit palagay ko, ayaw niya (source) ibigay dahil sikreto at lihim lang ang pagsabi,” Marcos said.
Marcos said her source would not want her to name names.
Fariñas insisted, however.
The allegation “puts a bad mark on all members of Congress. You have attacked the institution, through an unnamed source. Hindi pwede yan,” the lawmaker said.
“You are a person being investigated. I plead with you, ma’am, give the name of the person. Baka kayo lang ang may kagagawan ng istorya na yun,” he added.
“For the last time, I will move to cite you in contempt if you do not reveal the person. Kasi mabigat yung sinabi n’yo,” Fariñas warned.
The session was suspended to allow Marcos to consult with her lawyers. When the hearing resumed, Marcos gave in, apologized, and retracted her accusation that was published in the Manila Times.
She admitted that it was only her suspicion.
“I apologize for my statement. It is my mere suspicion. And given that the source is uncertain, I withdraw the accusation to the integrity and honor of the House that a P100 million circulated. Hindi totoo yun,” Marcos said.
Fariñas thanked Marcos for clearing the House of the allegation.
Marcos attended the hearing as the lower house threatened to detain the governor for contempt if she continues to snub the hearing.
This after the lower house ordered six provincial government officials – who came to be known as the Ilocos Six – detained for contempt for refusing to answer questions during previous hearings.
Fariñas in a resolution called for a House probe on the tobacco funds anomaly, in what is perceived to be a political show of force setting the stage for the 2019 elections in Ilocos Norte, where the Fariñas and Marcos clans are asserting dominance.
In calling for the probe, Fariñas alleged that about P66.45 million tobacco funds were used to buy minicabs, buses and minitrucks for the different Ilocos Norte town, even though the law—Republic Act 7171—that imposed the tax on Virginia cigarettes states that the excise tax should be used for livelihood projects and infrastructure projects benefitting the tobacco farmers. CBB
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