ILOCOS Norte Gov. Imee Marcos will be detained should she refuse to attend the congressional hearing on the provincial government’s alleged misappropriation of P66.45 million in public funds, an official said Tuesday.
Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel, chairman of the House committee on good government and public accountability, said Marcos’ detention space at the Batasan Complex was now being readied.
“We had the chamber prepared right after Governor Marcos publicly declared that she will dodge our July 25 hearing despite our subpoena and show-cause order,” Pimentel said.
“She will be okay in detention, though she might miss certain luxuries considering the high life she’s accustomed to.”
Pimentel’s committee has been probing the alleged irregular purchase of motor vehicles worth P66.45 million without public bidding. The money represents Ilocos Norte’s share of the excise tax collections from locally manufactured Virginia-type cigarettes.
Six provincial executives have been detained at the House since May 29 for allegedly giving evasive answers on the money that was for the benefit of tobacco farmers.
Pimentel said his committee conducted another hearing on June 20 to give the “Ilocos Six” a final chance to explain their side, but to no avail.
And after repeatedly snubbing the panel’s invitations for her to testify on the matter, Marcos was finally subpoenaed to the fourth hearing on July 25.
However, Marcos, in a press briefing on June 23, said she would stay away from the July 25 hearing at the recommendation of her younger brother and former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Pimentel said.
“I want to explain myself in Congress but others said I should not. Bongbong [Marcos Jr.] told me I could also be detained,” Imee said.
Pimentel said his panel might issue the warrant for the governor’s arrest “the day of the hearing as soon as we’ve ascertained she’s not around to bear witness.”