MANILA, Philippines – Mark Chua, a Singapore-based businessman and long-time partner of Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, was nowhere to be seen on Monday, September 25, despite a subpoena issued to him by the House committee on good government and public accountability.
Chua had been named as the man Fabian Go, president of Granstar Motors and Industrial Corporation, transacted with in the purchase of vehicles from China. Go claims he did not know that government funds had been used in the purchase and those vehicles would eventually end up in the province of Ilocos Norte.
Go made this claim despite having met both Chua and Governor Marcos once during one of Go’s many trips to Singapore.
“I’m not certain. He left several weeks ago for Singapore,” said Marcos on Monday, September 25, as the committee resumed its probe into the allegedly anomalous purchase of vehicles by the Ilocos Norte government using tobacco funds.
Pressed by Majority Floor Leader and Ilocos Norte 1st District Representative Rodolfo Fariñas if Marcos told Chua about the subpoena, the governor answered: “Tulad noong sinabi ko nung nakalipas, sinabihan ko na may imbitasyon para sa kanya pero di naman kami nagusap recently so di ko alam kung nabalitaan na ang subpoena.” (Like what I said in the past, I told him that there was an invitation but we have not spoken to each other recently so I do not know if he knows about the subpoena.)
Fariñas, who earlier noted that the committee failed to serve the subpoena to Chua, did not press on Chua’s whereabouts.
Fabian Go was the last main resource person in a month-long probe into what legislators are saying is the anomalous purchase of vehicles using tobacco tax funds. There was a big discrepancy in prices of the vehicle purchases as indicated in documents from Go and documents from the Ilocos Norte government.
While the December 2011 multicabs purchase was quoted at P5.4 million, the Ilocos Norte government shelled out P18.6 million for these units. Granstar pegged the cost of the 70 mini trucks at P18.9 million while the Ilocos Norte government paid P32.55 million. Fariñas, who filed the resolution calling for the probe, earlier that the mulitcabs were overpriced at P195,000 per unit.
Marcos and Chua themselves had “advised” Go about the House probe some time during the second week of April 2017.
The committee decided to issue a show cause order for Chua, and another personality involved in the transactions, Irene Mendoza, for failing to attend the hearings despite several invitations and a subpoena.
Chua is the long-time boyfriend of Marcos after her split from husband Tommy Manotoc. Marcos said of Chua in a 2010 Philippine Star interview: “He is all right, a very quiet guy. He’s fun.” – Rappler.com