[EDITORIAL] #AnimatED: In this corner, Marcos vs Fariñas
Ilocos Norte has never seen anything like this in recent years – a local squabble between bosses that’s taken the national stage.
The province’s most enduring political families are battling it out in open warfare over accusations that Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos has misused public funds or that Ilocos Norte 1st District Representative Rodolfo Fariñas, who is Majority Floorleader, is using his formidable position to pave the way for his or his daughter’s path to the gubernatorial race in 2019.
Both politicians are on their last term, which obviously makes their moves now suspect. The province once held tight by dictator Ferdinand Marcos is in for a take-no-prisoners election two years from now.
So is this about local politics? Of course it is. Fariñas is using his minted and powerful post to harass a rival.
But the point is, this is also a matter of public interest.
Documents – and body language – don’t lie. Here are some incontrovertible facts from the hearings conducted by the House committee on good government and public accountability on Imee Marcos’ alleged misuse of funds meant for tobacco farmers:
- The governor has used the province’s share of cigarette excise taxes to fund her pet projects, specifically motor vehicles, instead of helping farmers form cooperatives or building infrastructure for their produce. Marcos countered that the vehicles were needed for their livelihood, except that many recipients did not need them or could not even use them because they’re unregistered.
- Local bureaucrats in charge of Ilocos Norte’s funds refused to cooperate with lawmakers, braving detention. Documents related to questionable transactions remain missing. Such defiance can only be inspired by the promise of backing from an almighty.
- Proof of Marcos’ might in Ilocos Norte is the recent decision of the provincial board to declare Fariñas persona non grata, proving not just how dirty the fight has become but – pardon us – also betraying the ignorance of elected board members.
- Marcos has no plan at all – despite a subpoena for her to appear before the House committee on July 25 – to face the music or be made to account for what her government has spent. She is, of course, being a Marcos.
Indeed, it is unprecedented for the House of Representatives to be prosecuting a governor allied with the sitting president.
But the Marcoses cannot on one hand cheer the House bullies who had humiliated Duterte critic Leila de Lima and expect, on the other hand, niceties from the same chamber.
Welcome to a world beyond your control, governor. – Rappler.com