Speaker Belmonte on Cebu governor’s suspension: Not political at allBy Leila B. Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines — Speaker Feliciano Belmonte said on Thursday the suspension of Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia for usurpation of authority was just a simple administrative case, but some people are putting political color into the matter.
Belmonte, the ruling Liberal Party’s vice-chair, said the service of the six-month suspension order was just the “course of justice” taking place.
Garcia, a member of the United Nationalist Alliance, has defied the suspension order by holing up in the provincial capitol and seeking a temporary restraining order from the Court of Appeals.
Her supporters have contended that the move against her was just political harassment because she is from UNA. Garcia’s brother Pablo John Garcia is running to replace his sister for governor against the LP bet Hilario Davide III. UNA officials Vice President Jejomar Binay, former President Joseph Estrada, and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile have also visited her to lend her their support.
But according to Belmonte, the matter is not political in the first place.
“I think they’re trying to inject politics into it. It’s a simple administrative case and I don’t think anybody is being harassed by the LP,” he told reporters in an ambush interview.
He said President Aquino was just trying to enforce a decision, and has left the matter in the hands of the appropriate authorities.
The Palace ordered Garcia’s six-month suspension for allegedly usurping the authority of her vice governor to hire contractual employees and consultants. Garcia has since filed a petition to stop the implementation of the directive.
Garcia’s suspension came after Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino was accused of receiving payoffs from the illegal numbers game jueteng. The Department of Interior and Local Government, headed by LP stalwart Mar Roxas, has since ordered Espino’s investigation.
Espino’s party, the Nationalist People’s Coalition, dubbed the move as political harassment. Espino is seeking another term as governor against the LP’s bet Hernani Braganza.