Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos has been disrespecting Congress even if the strongman rule of her late father, former President Ferdinand Marcos, is long over.
This was stated by Rep. Doy Leachon of Oriental Mindoro after Marcos held a news conference defending the use of more than P66 million in tobacco funds to purchase 115 motor vehicles using cash advances and supposedly for the benefit of farmers.
Under existing laws, tobacco funds cannot be spent on motor vehicles and cash advances cannot be used in purchasing such vehicles.
“As a former legislator, she should recognize the mandate of Congress and should appreciate its power to call on individuals who can provide information it needs for investigation in aid of legislation. If Governor Marcos has something to say, she should say it in Congress,” Leachon said in a statement.
The governor used to represent Ilocos Norte’s First District in Congress.
Leachon said it is not unusual for Congress to invite governors to legislative inquiries, citing the cases of Governors Mark Lapid of Pampanga, Joselito Mendoza of Bulacan and Niel Tupas Sr. of Iloilo.
“Why should Governor Imee be any different? Does being a Marcos make her above the law? As far as I know, the Marcos dictatorship is long done,” the lawyer, pointed out.
He was referring to the then-president declaring Martial Law in 1972, abolishing Congress and courts in the process.
Marcos then severed functions of the judiciary and Congress and shut down media organizations critical of his administration.
Marcos’ Martial Law rule supposedly left at least 70,000 people either tortured or dead by extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.
“If she [Imee] is confident that she and her team did nothing wrong and everything is in order, then she has no reason to evade the summons of Congress. She says she has proof that the transactions were above-board and consistent with the law. If that’s the case, then she can share these with us. She spoke for 30 minutes straight during her news conference, and we have no problem giving her an hour to speak if it will shed light on the irregularities we have discovered,” Leachon said.
“Governor Marcos’ dilatory tactics and constant efforts to dodge Congress reinforced suspicions that the transactions of the province under her watch were questionable. This is all on her for refusing to take responsibility for her actions,” he added.