Philippine Daily Inquirer
HOUSE SEEKS GRAFT CHARGES VS IMEE OVER TOBACCO TAX
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.