CEBU CITY, Philippines – If Cebu Governor Gwendolyn “Gwen” Garcia can’t be forcibly evicted from the Capitol building, cutting off water and electricity supply might just do the trick.
Cebu Acting Governor Agnes Magpale, a member of the Liberal Party, said she is considering the proposal made by Garcia’s long-time critic, Cebu South District Rep Tomas Osmeña.
An ally of Garcia, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, however, told reporters he is not amenable to Osmeña’s recommendation.
The mayor said Garcia should be given time until all legal remedies are exhausted in her appeal.
Earlier, Chief Supt Marcelo Garbo Jr, chief of Police Regional Office 7, said he is only awaiting orders from Magpale to forcibly evict Garcia from her office.
Garcia has refused to step down, calling the suspension order “plain and simple, a power grab.”
The standoff stems from a suspension order served on December 19 and signed by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. Garcia, a member of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), was ordered suspended for 6 months for grave abuse of authority. This was in connection with administrative charges filed against against her by the late Cebu Vice-Governor Greg Sanchez Jr in 2010. Sanchez had accused Garcia of diverting the province’s budget for allegedly anomalous contracts.
Garcia, who has remained holed up in the capitol for 17 days already, had said the charges against her are politically motivated.
A member of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), Garcia is on her last term as governor, but is fielding her brother, Cebu Rep Pablo John Garcia, as her successor. Pablo John will be challenged in 2013 by two independents and LP’s Hilario Davide III.
Garcia is running for Congress to represent the province’s 3rd district, a position that is being held by her brother, Pablo John.
Pay the bills
Magpale’s camp is also thinking of charging Gwen Garcia for use of water and electricity consumed since the day she refused to vacate her office.
Aksyon Bisaya News (TV5 Cebu) computations revealed that Garcia has to pay roughly P7,500 per month.
Garcia defended herself, highlighting her contributions to the improvement of the entire province.
“The governor is entitled to her office and I have contributed to the development of the province,” Garcia said in Cebuano.
“I will stay here and I will defend this office, I will resist any attempt to bodily remove me,” she added. She had vowed to leave her post only over her dead body.
Garcia had also threatened to stay in her office even if the Court of Appeals (CA) has yet to grant her petition for a Temporary Restraining Order.
The CA has scheduled an oral argument on her appeal on January 10.
Despite tensions, Magpale said she would allow Garcia to stay at the Capitol as long as it will not hamper their day-to-day operations. But with water and electricity cut off, her stay could become increasingly difficult. – Rappler.com
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