Gwen Garcia to appear in court - lawyer
MANILA, Philippines - Suspended Cebu Gov Gwendolyn Garcia will appear before the Sandiganbayan on Friday, March 22, if she does not get arrested before that.
The Sandiganbayan ordered Garcia's arrest on Thursday, March 21 after she failed to attend her arraignment for a graft case in connection with an allegedly anomalous P98-million purchase of an estate in Tinaan, Naga town in Cebu in 2008.
Tranquil Salvador, Garcia's legal counsel, said the governor could not be arrested despite a standing order from the antigraft court because there is no arrest warrant yet.
Salvador said that an order itself from Sandiganbayan could not be a basis for an arrest; that authority emanates from an arrest warrant alone. Thus Garcia remains free in the absence of an arrest warrant, he said in an interview Thursday, March 21.
But he said there's a possibility the warrant would be served before they appear in court. "We will face that (arrest warrant)."
Salvador said the suspended governor was aware that she had a scheduled arraignment on March 21 but that they had asked the court to defer it. Their petition to have the arraignment postponed was first denied on March 19.
On March 20, they filed a motion for reconsideration. Salvador said they only learned about its rejection on March 21.
Salvador said that Garcia failed to show up for her arraignment because she has a list of things to do - attending a graduation, a blessing in a district, among others. She is running for congress in Cebu's third district.
Garcia - who was placed under suspension by Malacañang in December 2012 for grave abuse of authority - also asked the Supreme Court on March 10 to issue a temporary restraining order stopping her arraignment.
The SC has yet to act on her petition. - Rappler.com