CEBU CITY, Philippines—At least 65 policemen have been deployed as of 6 a.m. Thursday at the Capitol grounds here.
A team of policemen with shields were on standby at the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas to wait for instruction to “forcibly take out” Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, who has been staying inside the Capitol in defiance of a six-month suspension order issued against her by Malacañang on Wednesday.
Chief Superintendent Marcelo Garbo, PRO-7 regional director, said he had yet to receive an order from Camp Crame to use the “full force of the law.”
Senior Superintendent Melvin Ramon Buenafe, Cebu City police director, said he sent the policemen to the Capitol to maintain the peace.
He asked supporters of both Garcia and acting Governor Agnes Magpale to remain calm.
The front entrance of the Capitol ground has been barricaded and guarded by about 30 policemen. One of police truck has been parked in front of the Capitol ground while another at the gate leading to the Governor’s Office.
A fire truck has also been parked a few feet away from the entrance of the Governor’s Office.
Garcia, however, has no plans of leaving the Capitol. “I’d rather stay here,” she told reporters in a news conference at 3 a.m.
Garcia said they were surprised at the deployment of policemen who removed the tents at the Capitol grounds, where about 500 Garcia supporters from the towns of Daanbantayan and Consolacion and Mandaue City were gathered.
“Unsa man ta dinhi, nag-gyera na ta? Peaceful man ta tanan diri. Wala man tay gihimo nga dautan (What is happening here? Are we at war? We are peaceful here. We didn’t do anything wrong),” she said.
“It’s a constitutional right to peacefully assemble,” she added.
Garcia also said that the policemen did not show courtesy and asked her permission to take down the three big tents.
“Mura ta karon ug garison gilibutan ta ug mga police. (We now look like a garrison surrounded by the police.) Maybe they want to show their full force kay they’re all powerful,” she said.