House frees ‘Ilocos 6’ after admitting tobacco funds used to buy motor vehicles

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THE six government employees of Ilocos Norte who were detained at the House of Representatives for refusing to testify on the alleged misuse of the P66 million tobacco fund under the administration of Gov. Imee Marcos have been released.

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Ilocos Norte treasurer Josephine Calajate, budget officer Evangeline Tabulog, Bids and Awards committee head Pedro Agcaoili and Genedine Jambaro, Eden Battulayan and Encarnacion Gaor of the treasurer’s office finally admitted that the Ilocos Norte government purchased motor vehicles using P66 million tobacco fund without public bidding and in cash advances.

The employees, who were dubbed by media as the “Ilocos 6”, admitted making the transactions on Tuesday, the same day that Gov. Marcos testified at the House that all transactions were above board because Commission on Audit never issued a notice of disallowance or suspension on the purchases of the motor vehicles.

“I am just happy today that the Ilocos 6 were released. They have missed a lot. Their families, birthdays of love ones,” Marcos told reporters.

“There’s no anomaly. There’s no corruption [in the usage of tobacco fund],” Marcos added.

Marcos went to and hugged each of the employees after the committee on good government and public accountability adopted the motion to issue the order of release made by Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas of Ilocos Norte.

It was Fariñas who sought investigation on the alleged misuse of the P66 million tobacco fund.

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