MANILA, Philippines — Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos has apologized to the members of the House of Representatives for spreading word that a P100-million fund from the “yellow forces” was being dangled to lawmakers to ensure that she would be detained.
“I withdraw the accusation that P100 million circulated. …Hindi po totoo iyon at ako ay nagpapaumanhin kung nasaktan ko ang members ng Congress [It’s not true and I’m asking apology if I’ve caused pain among members of Congress],” Marcos said as she faced the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability looking into the allegedly anomalous purchase by the Ilocos Norte government of vehicles worth P66.45 million using funds from tobacco excise tax.
Marcos finally showed up on Tuesday at the panel’s inquiry after lawmakers led by Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas and committee chair Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel warned the governor that if she would not appear in Congress, she would be arrested and detained with her six employees, who have been hold up at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City since May 29 after being cited in contempt for being evasive in their responses during previous House hearings.
During the inquiry on Tuesday, Fariñas and Deputy Speaker Romero Federico Quimbo asked the eldest child of late strongman Ferdinand Marcos to identify her source of information about the P100-million fund that supposedly came from the Liberal Party (LP).
The two lawmakers told the governor that she could not just make blanket accusation and inflict harm on the entire chamber.
However, Marcos refused to give details about her supposed source and just said that, “Ang pag-aakusa ng katiwalian ay hindi na bago sa pamilya ko at nakikita naman natin na tuloy-tuloy pa rin kaya [Accusations of corruption are not new to my family and we can see that it continues].”
To which, Quimbo replied: “Naiintindihan ko po kaya kami rin po ay ‘wag n’yong babahiran ng dungis [I understand, that’s why you should also not taint us].”
Fariñas threatened to cite her in contempt if she would not reveal her source.
Quimbo, a stalwart of the LP, lamented that the party had often been used as “punching bag” being the political opposition.
Imee’s brother, former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, has a pending electoral protest against Vice President Leni Robredo, the LP chairperson.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has asked Fariñas and other House members to comment on the omnibus petition that Imee lodged before the high tribunal. Last July 13, the Ilocos Norte governor asked the high court to free her six employees detained in Batasan and issue a writ of amparo for their protection.
The lawmakers were given 10 days to comment on Imee’s plea.