Friday, July 21, 2017

Ilocos Norte officials cited for contempt

The House committee on good government and public accountability cited for contempt several Ilocos Norte provincial government officials and employees for twice snubbing the panel’s invitation to attend the probe into the alleged misuse P66.4 million in tobacco excise tax.

The House panel is investigating the alleged anomalous purchase of minicabs, buses, and trucks worth P66.4 million using the province’s tobacco excise tax funds without public biddings.

Among the Ilocos Norte officials cited for contempt were provincial administrator Windell Chua, provincial treasurer Josephine Calajate, provincial budget officer Evangeline Tabulog, accountant Eden Batulayan, general services officer Joseph Castro, Encarnacion Gaor and Genedine Jambaro of the office of the provincial treasurer, Engr. Pedro Agcaoili of the provincial planning and development office, and others.

They were served subpoenas last May 15, 2017 for not attending the committee’s previous hearing.

Per Republic Act 7171, the 15 percent share of Virginia tobacco-producing provinces shall be used to advance the self-reliance of the tobacco famers through cooperative, livelihood, agro-industrial, and infrastructure projects.

But the vehicles were purchased through cash advances, using Ilocos Norte’s tobacco excise tax funds.

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