Philippine Daily Inquirer

HOUSE SEEKS GRAFT CHARGES VS IMEE OVER TOBACCO TAX

- @VinceNona­toINQ By Vince F. Nonato Business · Taxes · White-collar Crime · Crime · Congress of the United States · Imee Marcos · Ilocos Norte · Commission on Audit · Land Transportation Office

The House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives has rec­om­mended graft charges against Gov. Imee Mar­cos and other Ilo­cos Norte pro­vin­cial of­fi­cials for the al­leged mis­use of the prov­ince’s tobacco tax shares.

A copy of the good gov­ern­ment com­mit­tee’s re­port was re­leased to re­porters on Thurs­day, four months af­ter the ple­nary adopted it on March 6.

Com­mit­tee Re­port No. 638 faulted Mar­cos, her sub­or­di­nates, as well as Mark Chua, iden­ti­fied as her “long­time part­ner,” for the “highly ir­reg­u­lar and il­le­gal” procuremen­t of 110 Fo­ton minicabs that were found over­priced by P21.45 mil­lion.

Over­priced and resold

The re­port stated that Granstar Mo­tors and In­dus­trial Corp. pres­i­dent Fabian Go sold the minicabs to Chua for P270,000 each.

Chua, in turn, al­legedly sold the ve­hi­cles to the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment for P465,000 each, or an over­price of P195,000 each.

The pur­chase of ve­hi­cles us­ing the tobacco tax shares was not al­lowed by Repub­lic Act No. 7171, which pro­vided for the funds to be used to ad­vance the self-re­liance of tobacco farm­ers through co­op­er­a­tive, liveli­hood, agro-in­dus­trial and in­fra­struc­ture projects.

No spe­cific or­di­nance

The pro­vin­cial of­fi­cials were also ac­cused of vi­o­lat­ing the Gov­ern­ment Procuremen­t Re­form Act, be­cause the procuremen­t of the ve­hi­cles through di­rect con­tract­ing, in­stead of pub­lic bid­ding, was “not jus­ti­fi­able.”

There was also no spe­cific ap­pro­pri­a­tion or­di­nance by the Sang­gu­ni­ang Pan­lalaw­igan for the pur­chase of the ve­hi­cles, and lump-sum funds were il­le­gally used, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

The use of cash ad­vances to pay for the ve­hi­cles was also not au­tho­rized by the Com­mis­sion on Au­dit.

The ve­hi­cles were not even reg­is­tered with the Land Trans­porta­tion Of­fice, a vi­o­la­tion of Repub­lic Act No. 4136.

 ?? GRIG C. MONTEGRAND­E ?? Imee Mar­cos—
GRIG C. MONTEGRAND­E Imee Mar­cos—

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