Published: Monday 09 October, 2017

Plunder Charges vs Imee Marcos Over Misuse of Tobacco Funds Being Studied

Ilocos Norte governor, Imee Marcos, may be guilty of plunder for the overpriced purchase and illegal use of tobacco excise tax funds. Charges of plunder against Imee and her subordinates are now being studied by lawmakers.

Imee Marcos plunder

Imee Marcos may be charged with plunder for the misuse of tobacco excise tax funds. (Inquirer/Richard A. Reyes)

House Committee on Good Government chairman Johnny Pimentel said Imee Marcos authorized the use of tobacco excise taxes to purchase 40 mini-cabs, 5 second-hand buses and 70 Foton mini-trucks in 2011 and 2012 worth P66.4 million. Aside from being illegal because such tobacco funds can only be used for livelihood and infrastructure projects benefiting tobacco farmers, investigations showed that the vehicles were overpriced by P195,000 each. Moreover, no bidding was done.

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“Pasok na pasok na po ito sa plunder,” said Pimentel during Monday’s Ugnayan sa Batasan press briefing.

On top of all these, investigations are also being done to dig deeper into alleged purchase of fertilizer by the Ilocos Norte government worth P56 million without prior bidding.

Imee Marcos have earlier insisted that was nothing anomalous about the transactions. And if there were, she only followed recommendations by officials under her.

But Pimentel insists Imee Marcos is “the most responsible person for these transactions.”

“She is the head, the transactions bear the signatures of Gov. Imee Marcos,” the Surigao del Sur 2nd District Representative said.

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As more and more alleged anomalous transactions are being uncovered in the continuing investigations on the misuse of tobacco excise tax funds, Pimentel believes these will eventually lead to plunder charges against the daughter of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Meanwhile, Imee’s boyfriend, Singaporean businessman Mark Chua, is also involved in the anomalous transactions. Fabian Go, the distributor of the motor vehicles, testified that it was Chua who transacted with them in the deal.

Mark Chua has since fled the country.