MANILA, Philippines – The word war between erstwhile political allies Rodolfo Fariñas and Imee Marcos continued Tuesday as the Ilocos Norte representative branded as “very cheap” and a “wild desperation” the provincial governor’s claim that “yellow forces” had offered P100 million to lawmakers to make sure that she would be detained over the alleged anomalous purchase of motor vehicles worth P66.45 million using taxes from tobacco.
Fariñas said that it was ironic that while Marcos said that the investigation being conducted by the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability into the allegedly misused tobacco funds was purely local politics that should not have involved Congress, the governor suddenly thought of dragging the “yellows” into the picture.
“Why would anyone pay P100M to show the irregularities that she has been committing. She even borrowed a line from the Game of Thrones that the North remembers! Really? How come the Amnesiac 6 do not remember the P66.45M cash advances that Imee gave them,” said the House majority leader.
The North Remembers is the first episode of the second season of Game of Thrones, the popular American fantasy drama television series created by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss.
Last July 13, as her lawyers asked the Supreme Court to free her six employees detained in Batasan, Marcos, during a press conference in Manila, said, “Please, Congress, free the Ilocos Six, and if this is truly the Game of Thrones, please be warned today: the North remembers and it never forgets.”
The six provincial employees — Pedro Agacaoili, chairman of the office’s Bids and Awards Committee and head of the provincial and planning development office; Josephine Calajate, provincial treasurer; Edna Battulayan, accountant; provincial budget officer Evangeline Tabulog; and two other employees, Genedine Jambaro and Encarnacion Gaor — have been hold up in Congress since May 29.
They were detained after they repeatedly told the House committee chaired by Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel that they could not recall receiving millions in cash advances or authorizing the release of funds for the purchase of various vehicles.
Before their detention, Fariñas grilled the employees on the allegedly anomalous purchase of minicabs, buses, and trucks in 2011 and 2012 using the share of the province from tobacco funds.
The lawmaker chastised the employees for their allegedly “dismissive” answers and also warned that cases against them would pile up if they continue trying to get off the hook.
On Tuesday, Fariñas told Marcos that if she was indeed from the North, “she should appear” at the House hearing on July 25 and not just grant media interviews so she could “show the Filipino people how she’ll help the Amnesiac 6 remember their suspicious cash transactions,” referring to the six detained Ilocos employees.
“She is having herself invited to media fora of her choice, but is doing everything not to honor the invitation, now a subpoena, of the HOR that is conducting an inquiry on the matter,” the lawmaker said.
“She has even asked the Supreme Court to restrain and prohibit the HOR to give her an opportunity to present her side for the whole world to hear, but goes on a media blitz for her false statements,” he said.
“The public clearly sees who is spending millions of pesos to cover up the loss of the bulk of P66.45 million of tobacco funds,” added Fariñas.
Moreover, the Ilocos lawmaker assailed Marcos for supposedly spreading a tale that it was a person connected to Fariñas who had allegedly stolen original documents about the tobacco funds from the Ilocos Norte provincial capitol.
“Really? Who’s using the loss of the originals as an alibi in not remembering the transactions under question? I have photocopies of those original documents, but when we initiated the probe on the transactions, her people stole the original documents and now claim the loss of such as their alibi not to remember the transactions subject of the inquiry,” said Fariñas.
Earlier, Marcos claimed that the original documents of tobacco fund transactions were allegedly taken from the Commission on Audit’s office inside the provincial capitol by a personnel of Fariñas.