Peasant group Kilusang Mayo Uno was quick to retract an opinion that of Sen. Imee Marcos is ‘hard-working’ and thus compelled to be endorsed as a new Agriculture Secretary, a position which remained vacant however claimed by her sibling and current head of the state Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

KMP furthered that it would be unconstitutional for Imee to replace Marcos Jr. citing under Paragraph 2, Section 13, Article 12 of the Philippine Constitution, which states that “[t]he spouse and relatives by consanguinity or affinity within the fourth civil degree of the President shall not, during his tenure, be appointed as Members of the Constitutional Commissions, or the Office of the Ombudsman, or as Secretaries…”

Imee has been deaf to pro-farmer clamors

KMP affirmed that while characteristics of ‘hard-worker’, ‘has a heart to local farmers’, and ‘calibrates importation’ pose a good image for an Agriculture secretary, but Sen. Imee’s stances on various agricultural issues and policies lacked genuine understanding on societal and agrarian problems.

The peasant group noted that Imee has chaired the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and Vice Chair of the Committee on Food, Agriculture, and Agrarian Reform which deliberated on Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Various peasant and farmworkers opposed to RCEP as it only made the country vulnerable to the incessant agricultural imports and trade deficits.

At least 131 agriculture-related organizations signed for a joint statement against RCEP. But Imee disregarded to heed these calls that she even pushed for an RCEP technical working group to ‘address concerns’.

“Like Marcos Jr, Sen. Imee has also been deaf to the clamor for the repeal of the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL). This is unsurprising since, as Ilocos Norte Governor, she expressed support for RTL when it was still a proposal in Congress in 2018,” KMP continued.

Numerous pro-farmer proposals were also disregarded by the senator such as the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill, the proposed Rice Industry Development Act, the P750 National Minimum Wage Bill, or even the now-enacted Free Irrigation Services Act.

“Overall, Sen. Imee’s track record in agriculture is marked with subservience, disregard, and scandal,” KMP further emphasized.

Imee linked to Marcos’ graft case

It must be noted that Imee was listed as among the beneficiaries to the $200 million graft case against Imelda Marcos as ordered by Sandiganbayan court last 2018. Accordingly, she was also at the center of the misuse of P66-million tobacco excise tax exposed in 2017, and her undeclared bank accounts were among those revealed in the 2016 leak of the Panama Papers, among others.

“Is someone with such a soiled public record trustworthy to supervise the P100-billion Coconut Trust Fund (originally stolen under her father’s dictatorship)? Or to head an agency repeatedly flagged by the Commission on Audit for overpricing fertilizers by several million?” a question posed by KMP.

The peasant group reiterated that the Marcoses do not suit to head the agriculture department, not even at any post given the dire family record alongside their failure to address pro-farmers programs especially in Ilocos Norte where the family has long been ruling since 1998. Accordingly, the province remains the poorest in the entire Ilocos Region, marred with issues of landlessness, smaller average farm size, and lower agricultural wages than national averages.

KMP even described Marcos Jr.’s six months in office with incompetence, a hands-off attitude that has allowed liberalization and importation of rice, onion, pork, and other agricultural products while farmers face constant bankruptcy (pushing some to suicide), persistent food inflation, depressed farmgate prices, and the ravaging of weather systems

CARMMA echoes to BIR on Marcos P203 billion estate tax

Meanwhile, the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law (CARMMA) called on the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to implement the Supreme Court judgment regarding the Marcos estate tax deficiencies amounting to P203 billion.

The Marcoses continue to deny, if not at all ignoring, the allegations despite an SC ruling.

CARMMA echoed since the BIR filed criminal complaints against 53 individual and corporate taxpayers for tax evasion amounting to P3.57 billion last Friday, saying that the bureau should fulfill its mandate even if its current chief is a Marcos Jr. appointee.

Atty. Romeo Lumagui, Jr. is the current CIR chief and was a member of the President’s policy team during the election campaign, a former member of the first lady’s law firm, and also a wedding ‘inaanak’ of the President.


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