Police, Garcias trade raps over tent removal

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06:38 AM December 30th, 2012

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By: Carmel Loise Matus, Chito Aragon, December 30th, 2012 06:38 AM

SUPPORTERS of Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia troop to the capitol after she was suspended by the Department of the Interior and Local Government. TONEE DESPOJO/CEBU DAILY NEWS

CEBU CITY—The courts are becoming the next battlefield between the camps of suspended Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and acting Gov. Agnes Magpale as Garcia continued to hole herself up inside the governor’s office here.

On Wednesday, Pablo “Paolo” Garcia III, son of Governor Garcia, filed robbery charges against Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and several police officers for the removal of tents put up in the provincial capitol for supporters of Garcia.

Police retaliated with an assault charge against the younger Garcia for allegedly slapping a police officer during an altercation over the tents.

Charged by the younger Garcia in the prosecutor’s office, aside from Roxas, were Chief Supt. Marcelo Garbo, Central Visayas police chief; Insp. Avelino Enquito; and Supt. Leopoldo Cabanag.

Charged by police aside from Paolo Garcia were Garcia supporters Jose Ma. Primitivo Cal and Tonyson Lee of Black Panda Travel and Tours.

Witnesses tagged them as the ones who punched Inspector Enquito while police were dismantling the tents meant for supporters of the suspended governor.

Police submitted footage from a TV station that captured the assault on Enquito to back the charges.

The footage showed Lee hitting Enquito in the back while Paolo Garcia and Cal were yanking the policeman.

Governor Garcia said her stay at the Capitol was a “major” change in lifestyle for her.

In an interview on Thursday, Garcia told reporters that had her suspension not come, she would be visiting towns and cities in the province like she used to.

“I used to travel around. Travel the length of this province. Never for so long have I been confined in such a small space,” she said.

Garcia said she had to sleep on a mattress on the floor beside stacks of boxes on the second floor of her office.

“That’s the price I have to pay for taking this stand,” she said.

“I am now standing for over a million Cebuanos who voted me into office, once, twice, three times. People are seeing that I am made into a test case. I am standing firm,” she told reporters.

As of 1 p.m. on Thursday, the Garcia camp is still awaiting a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the governor’s suspension.

Garcia petitioned the Court of Appeals to stop the suspension and issue a TRO.

“The court has taken cognizance of our case. I am really praying very hard as well as our supporters that we will get justice and the right thing will be done,” Garcia said.

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