Garcia on suspension: ‘Over my dead body’

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POLICE man the Cebu provincial capitol grounds after Gov. Gwen Garcia declared that she is defying an order from Malacañang that suspended her for six months for usurpation of authority. LITO TECSON/CEBU DAILY NEWS

CEBU CITY—Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia on Thursday dared police to forcibly remove her from the governor’s office where she has been holed up since Wednesday after she was ordered suspended for six months, saying her removal could only happen “over my dead body.”

In Malacañang, a spokesperson for President Benigno Aquino appealed to Garcia to first respect the order and “avail [herself] of legal remedies.”

Abigail Valte, one of Mr. Aquino’s spokespersons, said while Garcia has yet to receive a legal remedy, “we appeal that the decision be respected and the suspension be followed.”

Valte said she does not foresee violence marring the standoff in the provincial capitol.

Garcia said she remains to be governor despite the oath taking of Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale as acting governor.

“I will continue to discharge my function as governor of Cebu and if they want to stop me, then they have to do that over my dead body,” she said at a press conference after meeting with her department heads for two hours.

Garcia said she was ready in case police try to forcibly remove her from office.

“I shall continue to hold office right here and they can only stop me if they will physically drag me out of this office,” she said.

She said her lawyers are seeking a temporary restraining order to stop the suspension order. She, however, declined to say which court the petition was filed in.

Garcia has been staying at her office at the capitol since Wednesday after the Department of the Interior and Local Government served the suspension order and installed Magpale as acting governor.

Garcia was ordered suspended based on the complaint filed by the late Vice Gov. Greg Sanchez in 2010, accusing her of usurpation of authority.

Security was tight at the capitol, which has been brimming with policemen.

A police truck was parked in front of the capitol grounds, which were barricaded and guarded by at least 30 policemen. Another police truck and a fire truck were parked at the gate leading to the governor’s office.

Police removed tents where Garcia supporters had gathered.

Chief Supt. Marcelo Garbo, regional police chief, said he has yet to receive an order to use the “full force of the law.”

Garbo said that police, however, now recognize Magpale as the legitimate governor.

Magpale admitted that department heads in the provincial capitol did not heed her call for a meeting.

“If they will not heed my orders, I will charge them with insubordination,” she said.

Asked to comment about Cebu having two governors, Magpale replied: “For the record, there’s only one governor and she’s acting governor Agnes Magpale.”

Garcia said the capitol’s department heads had assured her of continuing loyalty. She said the officials “all came to reaffirm their commitment to the duly elected governor.”

“As far as they are concerned, there’s only one governor and it is the governor who was given the mandate by Cebuanos not just once, not just twice but three times, and that governor is Gwen Garcia,” said Garcia.

At least 26 incumbent and former mayors also went to the capitol to express support for Garcia, according to her brother, Dumanjug Mayor Nelson Garcia, head of the League of Municipalities in the Philippines (LMP)-Cebu chapter.

The province has 44 towns and seven cities under its jurisdiction.

The mayor said the LMP would issue a statement declaring support for his sister.

Garcia warned that banks holding deposits of the capitol would be in trouble if they recognized another authorized signatory.

Magpale said she has written to the banks to inform them that she was the acting governor of Cebu. With reports from Chito O. Aragon and Carmel Loise Matus, Inquirer Visayas

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  • miriamquiamco

    The decision of the palace occupant to harass the duly elected governor of Cebu on charges that she abused her authority is plain absurd.  How about the clear abuse of authority by the mayor of Davao; she slapped a sheriff in front of TV cameras.  And yet, the DILG headed by Robredo did nothing, nothing at all to penalize a politician who acted above the law.  Is this Tuwad na Daan?  Garcia is right to fight the abuse of power by the clueless leader in Malacanang!!!

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQPOCGSITYMSD2UTYIN4TJP56U Rene

      nakasuhan na yun at naayos na, ibig mo bang sabihin dahil ginawa ng iba pwede na ring gawin ng iba kahit na labag sa batas? katulad lang din yan sa sinabi nung isang bishop na lahat naman ay nangdadaya kaya ok na rin ang mangdaya, yan ba ang gusto mong palabasin? baluktot na katwiran…

    • http://www.wiredmash.com/ Jose Francisco Farrugia

      She can defend her side as soon as she steps down. She needs to abide by the LAW. She is not the law. She’s a civil servant. I pay her salary with my taxes. 

    • $23228448

      hey Garcia nice of you to post here, 

  • Roberto Ladao

    No one is above the LAW,  In the U.S. elected Mayor or Governor can get a speeding ticket. Governor can get convicted and send to prison.
           In the Philippines, elected officials fights back like they are the absolute power and elected for life.

    • batangsulpok

      Kaya di uunlad ang Pilipinas dahil sa ugali na pag nasa puwesto na ay akala mo sila na ang hari kaya paano susunod ang mga ordinaryong tao sa batas kung yun mismong mga taong dapat magpasunod ay siyang numerong violators?

  • curatolo

    Itong mga bataan ni GMA, talagang matititgas ang mga ulo at mukha. Sino ba nag pauso nung  ayaw umalis sa puesto maski may court order na?

  • Seaflip

    Follow the money trail, remove her as signatory on all bank accounts that the province maintains, curtail her disbursement powers and let’s see who the capitol employees will swear their loyalty to. Our basic cultural problem is that stupid “utang-na-loob” a blind loyalty that in most cases puts us in a bind instead of simply following rules.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/NOMBBSLZPGCELF545RBCZMOWLA dante

    Madam governor, we do not want your ‘dead body’ as yet,  we want you to first answer all corruption charges hurled agains you ALIVE!   Just to name a few:  First, on the over-priced CICC, a multi-billion government project whose dilapidated interior  looks more like an NFA warehouse than a cultural center.  Second, on the multi-million purchase of Balili property that appears to be under water.  The charges that leads to your suspension which is ‘abuse of authority’ is just the tip of the iceberg,  there are more serios allegations and questions that remains unanswered.

  • Paliwaweng

    Garcia proves that she is not fit to govern. She proves further that the allegations against her has basis. She empowers herself as the supreme arbitrator in her province that an order from anybody, and seems to be addressed even to the president though it indirect, and the government body who has jurisdiction over the entire local government units will be defied by her.
    The president must not only kick her out as she is a bad example of good governance. File a criminal case to make her stay behind bars for a certain period of time.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/XJLTJQBSNUX42Y7TAJE2ESGTAE emilio

    Here is another case of political dynasty. Only the gracias are fit to lead the cebuano people, the rest have been born to become followers only. This could be the result of eating corn as staple. Corn underdevelops the brain. Take at closer look at the pigs and the chickens who are corn eaters. They have big bodies but small brains. For a new breed of leaders to rise in Cebu, leaders who are not arrogant, they should look for other staple food. Maybe bananas, it would make climbing trees easier.

    • itsumo kokomo

      tama ka dyan. ang hihilig kasing kumain ng MAIS ang mga cebuano. ayan tuloy madaling ma uto.

      • batangsulpok

        Di lang mga cebuano kundi halos lahat ng Pilipino ay nauuto ng mga pulitiko kaya ang Pilipinas ay walang asenso.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/LDTDCGXCGYUNRC4PQAAAIMAL3A Ronnie

        tingnan mo c pacquiao mahilig kumain ng mais..lakas sumuntok..ikaw? gusto mo ng suntok?

    • NEILMCNALLY

      WHAT trees…?!

  • gwenbalili

    dapat ma eject agad yang “SQUATTER” sa cebu capitol.
    saksakan ng kapal yang mga pamilya ng garcia

  • SAN

    The shameless way these politicos cling to power.  such a bad example for the elctorate….

  • joboni96

    huwag naman

    kung kapit tuko siya
    sa opisina niya

    hayaan siya
    cut off supplies

    mag opisina muna bagong gov
    sa ibang lugar

    kaya lang baka magutom
    si ex-gov

  • josefe38

    Governor of Isabela named Lady Grace Padaca, accused for alleged graft and corruption. An arrest warrant was issued but she was never arrested. Then Abnoy came to her rescue. With his own wealth and power, he posted bail for Lady Padaca and appointed her Associate Commissioner of Comelec.
    Now look at the difference: On the other hand, Governor’s Garcia and Espino of Cebu and Pangasinan, respectively, are allegedly being persecuted… but Abnoy claims his actions are not politically motivated. That’s what we call a compartmentalized justice, to the cult members of abnoymal, please explain to the Filipino people that Abnoy’s, action is “Moral”, for it seems morality has a different meaning for some heads in Malacañang Palace. 
     What is happening to this country today is a selective Justice system that under the Abnoy Regime.
     When the Office of the Ombudsman issued an arrest warrant against Isabela Governor Grace Padaca… the President then despite the documented evidences presented, issued statements to clear Gov. Padaca’s name, then using his own money, he posted her bail… then appointed her as Associate Commissioner of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
    But for Gov. Gwen Garcia, Abnoy slapped her suspension just before the Christmas break…where our Court of Appeals (CA) don’t have offices to hear for TRO. What a heartless President we have in Mr. Aquino! Clearly, anyone who does not belong to the Liberal Party (LP) and is facing administrative or graft charges; will certainly get the ire of this kulukoy president

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/NOMBBSLZPGCELF545RBCZMOWLA dante

    Political options can be exercised by any politicians – for as long as it is not intended to enrich himself.  Gwen Garcia has it for 9 years of Arroyo Administration – which made her untouchable despite the CICC and Balili scams.  One thing for sure:  Her time is up.

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