Anakpawis welcomes House recommendation of plunder charges against Imee Marcos on using tobacco excise tax

Farmers from Stop Exploitation, Amin and Bayan Ilocos Norte demand direct benefits from the tobacco excise tax during a protest in congress.Farmers from Stop Exploitation, Amin and Bayan Ilocos Norte demand direct benefits from the tobacco excise tax during a protest in congress.

Manila, Philippines – Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao welcomed the recommendation of the House Committee on Good Government and Accountability to file plunder charges against Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos on the anomalous use of P66.45 million from the tobacco excise tax in purchasing motor vehicles supplied by her long-time partner Mark Chua.

“We appreciate this development, but we are firm that this is not the only case, as farmers have long been demanding benefits from the fund, that even COA reported that more than a half billion pesos were unused-unobligated from 2011 to 2013,” Casilao said in a statement.

Casilao and lawmakers under the Makabayan bloc filed House Resolution No. 1126 on the determination of the actual benefits of tobacco farmers from Ilocos Norte of the tobacco excise tax. In response, the Commission on Audit (COA) submitted an initial report on the said fund from 1997 to 2016, where it indicated that about P583 million were unused-unobligated during the 2011 – 2013 term of Gov. Imee Marcos. Farmers from Alyansa Dagiti Mannalon Iti Ilocos Norte (Amin), provincial chapter of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Solidarity of Peasants in Ilocos Norte (Stop Exploitation) attended the previous hearing and testified that they did not benefit from the fund.

“It should also be noted that under the governorship of Bongbong Marcos, COA cited unused-unobligated funds on how the province used the share from the tobacco excise tax,” Casilao said.

Based on the COA report, about P477 million were unused-unobligated from 1998 to 2007 when Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. was governor. Casilao challenged the house leadership to dig deeper on the anomaly involving the tobacco excise tax, including the term of Bongbong Marcos.

“The children of the late dictator inherited the plunderous character of their father who instigated the multi-billion peso coconut levy scam, and for them they raked on the tobacco excise tax, they should be charged with plunder, aside from their historical crime against the Filipino people,” Casilao ended. ###