Palace suspends Cebu governor for usurping powers of vice governor

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Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — For usurping the authority of her vice governor to hire contractual employees and consultants, Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia was suspended for six months by the Office of the President.

The suspension order, signed by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa on Dec. 17, will last beyond the May 2013 polls.

“As a public officer, respondent has a sacred duty to observe the law. Respondent’s action in hiring employees of the office of the vice governor and SP (Sangguniang Panlalawigan) even when the appointing power is lodged in the office of the vice governor, and in entering into consultancy contracts without the prior authority of the SP, were in violation of law amounting to grave abuse of authority.

“The slashing of the budget, while not illegal, is suggestive of harassment, oppression and vindictiveness with respondent utilizing the powers of her office and affinity to the SP,” said the decision in OP Case No. 10-K-504.

The recommendation to suspend the three-term governor was one of the last acts of the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, who died in a plane crash on August 18 in Masbate City.

In a report dated July 26, which was forwarded to the Office of the President on July 31, Robredo “found the respondent guilty of grave abuse of authority with a recommended penalty of suspension for six months.”

She was found to have committed “grave abuse of authority” on three grounds:  “encroaching on the appointing authority of complainant over employees of the Office of the Vice Governor,” “slashing the budget of the Office of the Vice Governor by 61 percent,” and hiring consultants without prior authority from the SP.

“Clearly, the governor usurped the vice governor’s power of appointment over these contractual employees,” stated the order, referring to various contractual employees appointed by Garcia whose salaries were, however, drawn from the budget of the late Vice Governor Gregorio Sanchez Jr.

Sanchez died before the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) started the investigation.

However, the Office of the President noted that in administrative cases, the death of a complainant did not warrant the withdrawal of the charges against the respondent.

Both parties had invoked the case of Atienza vs Villarosa on the charge of Garcia’s encroachment of the appointing powers of the vice governor.

The Palace decision noted that Garcia signed various appointment papers of contractual employees for the vice governor on July 1 and October 10 in 2010.

“While the appointments were made by respondent in her capacity as governor, the DILG found that the budget for the salaries of these contractuals would be sourced from the Office of the Vice Governor,” it said.

“As salaries were to be drawn, and were actually drawn, from the budget of the Office of the vice-governor, it is the vice-governor who had the power to appoint these contractuals,” said the decision, adding that a number of these contractuals were local legislative assistants detailed with the SP.

“Consistent with Atienza (ruling of the high court), the authority to appoint these contractuals or casuals is with the vice-governor,” said the decision.

The budgetary allocation for these contractuals was removed from the vice governor’s budget for “unknown reasons,” said the decision.

“Interestingly … after the death of the complainant, and the assumption of his successor to office,” Garcia returned this budget to the office of the vice governor, the decision said, adding:

“(And) this was prompted by a consensus, among respondent (Garcia) and the majority of the members of the SP … that the office of the vice governor has now become ‘a close partner and/or ally’ of the respondent and of the SP. This evokes malice and bad faith in the preparation of the budget for the office of the vice governor and the SP, and is equally suggestive of an arbitrary exercise of authority.”

Garcia had suddenly and substantially reduced the budget of the late vice governor from P47 million in 2010 to P18 million in 2011.

This action, the Office of the President said, was not due to “warranted by circumstances,” adding that this was a mere “pretense” because the allocations were “reverted back” to the office of the vice governor after Sanchez died.

All this “scheme to restrict the functioning” of the office of a political rival “undermined the separate character of the executive from the legislative branch of the local government unit.”

The Office of the President also noted that the appointments of 19 consultants were done without prior authorization from the Garcia-controlled SP.

“In the absence of a proper expense item that may be substitute the required Sangguniang authorization, this office concludes that respondent gravely abused her authority in entering into the consultancy contracts,” said the decision.

In arriving at the decision, the Office of the President gave due “consideration” to the findings of the DILG, which investigated the complaint.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WIWYLFLU4LPKS7B2ZLLRVFKS3Y vir_a

    The vice governor was so humiliated by this governor. Now, her undoing is going back to her. Good riddance!

    • D_BystandeR

      The late Greg Sanchez will be known as the “most maligned Vice Governor of Cebu” during the domineering governance of Gov. Gwen.

  • calipso_2100

    Suspension lang?

    How about the biggest of all scams that is the CICC and lamp posts project?

    • buttones

      What happened to the lamp post thingy? The dismal edifice they call the CICC, a sort of 1960’s ‘balance sheet’ sort of architectural piece is there for all to see, but I thought the lampposts had all been stolen by the locals and sold for scrap? Yes simply amazing, a 15,000 peso lamppost sold to the municipalities for 110, 000 a piece- not a bad profit for some, and nobody was ever charged and convicted- amazing… Not saying Gwen was involved of course…..

  • pasaway008ako

    Yari siya…pero ilang buwan ng patay si Sec Robledo e bakit ngayon lang umiral ito kung si Sec Robledo pa ang nagrekomenda at nag-approved sa suspension na ito? A mayroon din diyan na papatay-patay ha!!!

    • JunPyo123

      Ang late Sec. Robredo ang nagrekomenda pero wala siyang kapangyarihan para magapprove. Bago ito aprubahan ng Malakanyang, magiimbistiga din sila bago gumawa ng desisyon. Read: “In arriving at the decision, the Office of the President gave due “consideration” to the findings of the DILG, which investigated the complaint.”

    • D_BystandeR

      Hindi natin alam may mga matalino d’yan na siyang nagde-decide kung kailan ang tumpak na “timing.” Think about it! Six months and it stretches until after the election time. It’s an excellent decision as far as “political timing” is concerned.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_U62PHGMKO4RK7BLMC4ACA4EG5A EREC

    6 months is very lightweight of suspension…. its abuse of power and authority, it shows lang that she cannot be trusted of authority and power. Ang laki ng bawas sa budget sa isang opisina at pinagtrasfer lang ang pundo…..napakalinaw pa sa sikat ng araw na gustong paralisahin ang operasyon ng isang opisina para di makagalaw. Siguro kasama itong si Gobernador sa mga sindikato.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_U62PHGMKO4RK7BLMC4ACA4EG5A EREC

    6 months is still injustice to the oppress elected official.

  • antiscam

    and to think that Gwen Garcia is an administration ally. Truly the “Matuwid na Daan” is at work here. PNOY really threw her the book this time, ally or no ally. All Hail PNOY!!!

    • wawa2172

       Nope. Gwen is not an ally of PNoy. He dislike her for being closed to GMA. His father though from NUP is a former Lakas-Kampi workhorse. His brother Winston is GMA appointee at GSIS, though tama siya sa computerization of the agency, the anomalies during his term was so much. He got million of pesos loan from GSIS but issued a moratorium on government workers loan. Pnoy and Gwen are heaven and hell apart from each other so di sila mag ka ally.

    • D_BystandeR

      I beg to disagree with the term “ally of the Pres.” They are not sporting the same political party so they cannot be considered as “ally” in the strictest sense of the word. Liberal Party of the President and One Cebu Party of Gov. Gwen are two different “worlds.” Tommy O is the one regarded  as a close political ally of President Noynoy in Cebu.

  • kayanatwo

    18dec2012

    nobody asked me, but…it shows that the political dynasty really has some perks and privilege. 

    usurpation of govt. power by the use of color of authority in IMHO is a ground and should constitute for removal of the erring govt. elected official and not just suspension from his / her office.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_U62PHGMKO4RK7BLMC4ACA4EG5A EREC

    hiring of consultant……….WOW  ito tiba tiba dito si Governor…baka London base pa yong consultant…G/pound ang pinag uusapan dito at per minute pa. WOW…. the best talaga si Gobernor convincing ang abuse of authority.

    The best yong anak ng vice governor…itinuloy niya yong laban kahit wala na yong ama… Be Marry.

  • kismaytami

    Karma at katarungan.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/FQQPZLNOMD2EBFTHSWOP6QGZWY Marshall

    akala ko maganda si Gwen…hot mature ..hinde pala..daming mga bukol-bukol sa mukha ,,may mga kanto-kanto pa..palpak yata trabaho ni Dok  Vicky Bello dito…..

    • wawa2172

      Bakit ikaw gwapo ka ba? Sino ang gumawa sa mukha mo si Chocolate? At bakit napuna mo si Gwen, lalake ka ba or alanganin. Sorry folks but the issue here is abuse of power and not abuse of tongue. Just focus on the issue for all peaceful purposes. Peace brother. Salaam.

  • surigao_miners

    Punta kayo sa Surigao del Sur, yong Congressman, Governor doon at Mayor ng Carrascal, ay  grabe ang ABUSE OF POWER nila..takot lang lahat ng gma tao doon kasi PAPATAYIN ka talaga kapag umalma ka at nalamang kaw ang nag sumbong.  Sayang lang at namatay si robredo….

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Abdul-Rashid/100004367910013 Abdul Rashid

    There are a lot more Local Executives who are doing these abuse of authority. Try the governor of Zamboanga del Norte? Roxas e check mo nga itong probensya na to? Kailangan ma suspend din ito kundi makulong.  

  • padrefaura

    ganda ng timing. hanggang elections sya suspended. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_U62PHGMKO4RK7BLMC4ACA4EG5A EREC

    wHAT i KNEW the late Sec. Jesse has made a lot of LGU that undergo secret investigation. But its up to Roxas if he will continue to have finality and verdict. Kahit po duon sa amin meron kaya lang parang madulas na hito  baka magagaling ang consultant. I already mentioned before in my comments the projects that even expert accounted will take time to justify unless from start to finish COA  will handle the record books and daily monitor the activities of the projects. … makalingat lang nga siguro balde baldeng pintura ang mawawala.

  • Ramon Mayuga

    Vindictive governor.

    Did Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia know about the recommendation made by the late DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo that she be suspended for usurpation of powers of the vice governor? If so, we may be right in suspecting that she or her followers may have sabotaged the ill-fated plane that took off from Cebu city and crashed near Masbate on the way to Naga city.

    • buttones

      That’s wild, this is not Hollywood….maybe true half of government is from the screen writing, acting, starlet thespian lot, but no that’s off the radar….

    • D_BystandeR

      “Figment of the imagination” mo lang ‘yun. You are stretching too far the connection of Gov. Gwen & Co. by connecting it to the “sabotage angle” of the “plane crash” which claimed the lives of the late DILG Secretary Robredo and two others. Anyway, the news about the governor’s suspension has long been expected by the Cebuanos who have grown tired of her domineering style of governance in Cebu and it’s a blessing in disguise so she will not be able to use her office influence to “unfairly” conduct her political campaigns to promote her brother’s candidacy for Cebu governor and personally for herself because, true to her obsession of extending their reign of political dynasty in Cebu, she is now running for a congressional seat in Cebu’s 3rd District.

  • boybakal

    Palace suspends Cebu governor for usurping powers of vice governor….

    Governor usurping power of Vice Governor?
    Baligtad ata.
    It should be Vice Gov. who should usurp power of the Governor.
    Nagpakababa pa nga si Gwenn.
    From governor to vice governor…she should be applauded for that.
    Di ba governor can override the vice governor.  Masyado naman de letra tong Palace.
    One wrong word interpretation will cost your job.

  • sidewalkbenhur

    buti nga ,puro kasi kayo power hungry

  • $31701260

    Liberal party is the modern nazi party…

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/J6ZIP2ZW3T6ZFRJCRBAJNXLIFY Sabian

    Galing nga naman o. Pero yung 2Billion na hindi ma liquidate ni sec dinky soliman ng noong 2011 walang ka-action action si PNoy. I’m sure hindi alam ng nakararami yan kasi na news block out yan ng inquirer at abs cbn.

  • Pogi=”No To Political Dynasty”

    Same strategy with the past administration. Kursukursunada lang para sa mga magaling sumipsip sa Malacanang.

  • ramon_manahan

    Gov. Gwen Garcia is an ally of Binay kaya lahat ng mga kakampi ni Binay,
    binabanatan ng LP ni Sec. Mar Roxas. Masamang laro ang gusto niya.

  • Your_King

    The Cebu Gov.’s abuse of power in this situation is no different then President Aquino’s abuse of power in his situations. At one time or another and probably more times added to that, people in power abuse their power.

  • hustlergalore

    wow. ROBREDO!

  • EdgarEdgar

    UNA’s complaint against LP’s power grab in order to control vote-rich provinces is not entirely without merit. Below are the top 25 vote-rich provinces based COMELEC’s 2010 registered voters and provinces. Cebu and Pangasinan are the top 2 vote-rich provinces (outside NCR) whose governors are not allied with the administration. DILG Mar Roxas’s extraordinary zealousness these days against the two governors might just be a coincidence. But knowing Mar, UNA cannot help but suspect something else is going on. Should the other governors who are not allied with the administration brace for DILG’s direct or indirect harassment? Time will tell.

    Registered Voters (in millions) / Province

    5.91M – NCR*                                         0.94M – LEYTE
    2.36M – CEBU                                        0.90M – CAMARINES SUR  
    1.61M – PANGASINAN                         0.89M – ILOILO
    1.51M – NEGROS OCCIDENTAL        0.87M – ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR
    1.45M – LAGUNA                                   0.79M – ISABELA
    1.43M – BULACAN                                0.74M – MISAMIS ORIENTAL
    1.39M – CAVITE                                     0.73M – SOUTH COTABATO
    1.37M – DAVAO DEL SUR                   0.70M – BUKIDNON
    1.37M – BATANGAS                              0.70M – BOHOL
    1.31M – NUEVA ECIJA                          0.69M – ALBAY
    1.23M – RIZAL                                         0.63M – NEGROS ORIENTAL
    1.22M – PAMPANGA                             0.61M – TARLAC
    1.01M – QUEZON

    *Info on NCR breakdown per city is not available in COMELEC website.

  • keyboard torres

    sya ba ung boldstar dati?

  • boybakal

    I am seeing a pattern here.
    Last week, the Governor of Pangasinan was the subject of scandal re: Jueteng Money.
    Now, Governor of Cebu Gwen was suspended by usurpation of power.
    These governors I guess were not LPs to be arbitrarily exposed and suspended.
    Government machinery…humiliation and suspension as they did to Corona.

    Who is next victim?

  • Guest

    That the play Sec. Roxas wants, harass the enemies. Will he succeed? I
    don’t think he can. He’s evil so…he will not.

     

  • kakan_210kita

    That’s the big accomplishment of Sec. Roxas [so far] in less than 2
    months in the DILG – suspension of Gov. Garcia. Bravo! Hahaha!

  • Summerspice

    Garcia suspended!Comimg soon…….Suspension of Espino!Magaling talaga magplano mga tao ni Pnoy.Calling all nonLP Governors,Mayors,Congressmen, lipat na kayo sa LP para safe kayo.I think LP wants to put in position their men so when it comes to 2016 Presidential election meron silang edge.It’s very obvious!!

  • disqusted0fu

    the title of the article should be more straight to the point… something like “palace suspends Cebu governor to give way and make sure of the victory of their LP candidates.

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