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Gov. Imee insists use of tobacco funds legal

By: Ellson A. Quismorio

Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos insisted before the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability yesterday that the P66.5-million in cash advances from the tobacco excise funds that the capitol used to purchase 115 vehicles from 2011 to 2012 were above board.

“Kung tutuusin wala namang anomalya, nandyan naman po lahat ng gamit. Wala naman tayong masasabing nawaldas, at yung CoA mismo sa audit at post-audit sinabi na kumpleto ang lahat ng kagamitan na binili, yung vehicles, kumpleto ‘yung pagbayad,” Marcos said at the resumption of the hearing on the alleged misuse of the fund.

“Ang cash advance hindi ibig sabihin na binubulsa ang cash,” Gov. Marcos said. “Ito ay legal na paraan na pagbabayad sa gobyerno, kinilala rin ng batas natin. Ang sinasaad lamang ay kinakailangang yung cash ay for a specific purpose, through a permanent bonded offer at ili-liquidate fully for the specific purpose. Yun ang pagkaintindi namin.”

Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel’s committee has been investigating the allegedly irregular cash advances made by Ilocos Norte to procure 40 multicabs worth P18.6 million, five second hand Hyundai buses costing P15.3 million, and 70 mini-trucks for P32.5 million in 2011 and 2012 using the province’s share of the proceeds from excise taxes collected from locally produced Virginia-type cigarettes.