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Imee Marcos willing to attend but supporters suggest video conference, written testimony

Governor Imee Marcos is willing to attend the House inquiry on the alleged misuse of the Ilocos Norte provincial government's share of tobacco excise tax even, despite warnings that she might end up suffering the same fate of her six detained subordinates.

At a press conference in Manila on Thursday, Marcos reiterated she would cooperate with the House of Representatives panel conducting a probe into the provincial government’s alleged anomalous purchase of vehicles for P66.45 million from 2011 to 2012.

"Ang sa akin kasi gusto ko talagang harapin ito. Wala naman kaming tinatago. Kitang kita nyo naman ang mini truck, mga bus wala naman nawawala. Hindi naman ghost project. Ano ba naman ang itatago pa at pagtataguan ko?" Marcos said.

"I would prefer to go. Gusto ko pumunta. Sa ngayon yun ang aking ninanais pero nakikinig din ako sa lahat ng mga nagsasabi sa akin na mag dahan dahan, maghunos dili," she added.

Marcos' supporters — composed of local officials, barangay leaders, and various civic and sectoral groups who rallied behind her in filing a plea with the Supreme Court for the freedom of the "Ilocos 6" on Thursday — urged her not to attend the House hearing because she might end up suffering the same fate of her six subordinates and be cited in contempt and subsequently detained.

Marcos said if she were to participate in the inquiry, her supporters advised her to do so through video conferencing or a written testimony, to avoid being thrown in detention.

"Gusto ko pumunta pero maraming nagsasabi sa akin i-boycott. Hindi patas ang laban sa Kongreso. Sa akin gusto ko harapin at wala naman kaming tinatago... I would prefer to go...  Ipinagpipilitan ko na masabi ang side natin," she said.

Even Marcos' brother, former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., had also reportedly advised her to skip the July 25 hearing.

Marcos insisted that local politics was behind the House inquiry on the local government officials of Ilocos Norte, referring to her rift with Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas.

The political drama came to fore after the House panel ordered the detention of six Ilocos Norte provincial government employees who were held in contempt for allegedly failing to satisfy queries by some congressmen.

The employees are Pedro Agcaoili, chair of the bids and awards committee and the provincial and planning development unit; Josephine Calajate, provincial treasurer; Edna Battulayan, accountant; Evangeline Tabulog, provincial budget officer and Genedine Jambaro and Encarnacion Gaor, who are assigned at the treasury office.

Marcos and the six employees have already asked the Supreme Court to stop the inquiry, assume jurisdiction over the writ of habeas corpus case pending before the Court of Appeals and issue a writ of amparo "given the actual and threatened violation" of their right to liberty. — MDM, GMA News