HOUSE READIES “COMFORTABLE” DETENTION CELL OF IMEE MARCOS

Surigao del Norte Rep. Johnny Pimentel, chair of the House committee on good government and public accountability, gave the House media a tour around Marcos’ detention cell at the third floor of the North Wing Building in Batasang Pambansa Complex.

Pimentel said the 80-square meter detention room is “very comfortable” and has a receiving area, private room, bathroom, and a small dining area. He also noted that Marcos can have access to the Internet so that she can still perform her duties as governor.

“There will be Wi-Fi connection…she will have access to Internet. She can bring her cellphone. Our rules are very liberal,” said Pimentel.

The House leader said the security personnel will be composed of security guards and in-house security, as well as Philippine National Police (PNP) officers.

Pimentel earlier said the arrest and detention of Marcos will be “sure as the sun rising tomorrow” if the latter continues to snub the fourth House hearing into the alleged irregular procurement of PHP66.45 million worth of vehicles by the Ilocos Norte government.

Marcos was subpoenaed last month to attend the fourth hearing set on July 25 after she repeatedly snubbed the House panel’s invitations.

Pimentel said his committee may 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.”

The committee on good government and public accountability has been conducting an investigation into the provincial government’s alleged misuse of tobacco excise funds amounting to PHP66.45 million.

Six provincial government officials have been in House detention since May 29 after they were held in contempt for giving “evasive answers”.

The six Ilocos Norte officials currently detained at the Batasan Complex in Quezon City are provincial treasurer Josephine Calajate; provincial budget officer Evangeline Tabulog; provincial planning and development office chair Pedro Agcaoili; and Provincial Treasurer’s Office employees Genedine Jambaro, Encarnacion Gaor, and Eden Battulayan.

The mode used in the purchase of vehicles was through cash advances, using the province’s share from excise taxes derived from locally produced cigarettes or the special support fund under Republic Act No.7171.

Under RA 7171, the 15 percent share of Virginia tobacco producing provinces shall be allotted for livelihood projects and infrastructure projects as a special support for tobacco farmers. (Filane Mikee Z. Cervantes/PNA)

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