As sure as the sun rises, we will detain Imee if she snubs hearing: House panel chief

Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos celebrating after the Supreme Court allowed the burial of her father at the LIbingan ng mga Bayani. (Reuters file)

MANILA – The House of Representatives served notice on Tuesday that it would arrest Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos if she doesn’t show up in its July 25 hearing.

“If she does not show up, her arrest and detention is as sure as the sun rising tomorrow,” Surigao del Sur Representative Johnny Pimentel said.

He said his panel may issue the warrant for the governor’s arrest “the day of the hearing, as soon as we’ve ascertained she’s not around to bear witness.”

Pimentel heads the committee on good government and public accountability, which is looking into the alleged anomalous purchase of P66 million worth of vehicles using tobacco funds.

Pimentel said the detention space at the Batasan Complex for Marcos is now being readied.

“We had the chamber prepared right after Governor Marcos publicly declared that she will dodge our July 25 hearing, despite our subpoena and show cause order compelling her to explain satisfactorily why she should not be held in contempt for her brazen defiance,” he said.

“She’ll be okay in detention, though she might miss certain luxuries, considering the high life she’s accustomed to,” Pimentel added.

The committee has issued a subpoena for Marcos after she failed to show up in the hearings.

Six provincial executives have been detained at the House since May 29 for failing to answer questions about the money meant for the benefit of tobacco farmers, but supposedly misused as cash advances for the purchase of motor vehicles without competitive public biddings.

An emergency hearing was called on June 20 to give the local officials in custody a final chance to tell all on the alleged fund misapplication, but they only reiterated that they could testify on the purchase without seeing the original documents.

In a news briefing on June 23, the governor said that upon the recommendation of her younger brother, former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., she would stay away from the hearing.