WHILE Garcia supporters rallied outside the Capitol yesterday, Chief Supt. Marcelo Garbo monitored the scene “somewhere nearby” he told Cebu Daily News.
Garbo said his men exercised “maximum tolerance” in the Sunday afternoon rally and would continue to do so while waiting for other orders.
Garbo’s cool handling so far of the sometimes-tense standoff at the Provincial Capitol where suspended Gov. Gwendolyn remains holed up for the 13th day, satisfies Acting Gov. Agnes Magpale.
“So far he has done well in carrying out my request to show super maximum tolerance,” she said, especially since it was the Christmas season but added that they will “assess the situation” after the New Year.
Magpale said she was not aware of any police plan or other instruction from higher officials to evict the governor who vowed not to leave her office “over my dead body”.
Garcia in her official Twitter account announced a day before the rally that “Gen. Garbo threatens to physically remove me from my office by Dec. 31.”
This was denied by the PNP but the office of Vice President Jejomar Binay still slammed Garbo over the alleged plan.
“Due process and the rule of law, not to mention judicial courtesy, require that you hold in abeyance your decision to remove the Governor from the provincial capitol,” said lawyer Ira Pozon who heads the Office of the Vice President Special Concerns Office in a statement.
Pozon said Garcia has a pending plea with the Court of Appeals questioning her six-month suspension.
He said doing otherwise would be “un-Christian” during the Christmas season and that “such a provocative act could add to the political tension now prevailing in Cebu.”
PNP spokesman Generoso Cerbo Jr. denied allegations of the Garcia camp that it was allowing itself to be used in enforcing “martial law” in Cebu.
He said policemen manning the Capitol were just doing their job to ensure peace and order in the area.
“The PNP is not taking sides on this issue… Any insinuation of martial law in Cebu only serves to undermine the professional and good image of the (PNP) organization,” he added.
He said the decision of the police to remove the tents of Garcia’s supporters from the capitol grounds last Dec. 19 was just part of the PNP’s “initiatives to maintain order in the area.”
A police officer, Inspector Avelino Enguito, last week filed a case against Garcia’s son, Pablo “Paolo” Garcia III, after he and his two friends allegedly assaulted Enquito and hit him in the head after policemen hauled off three tents.
Paolo Garcia, in turn, filed robbery charges against Enguito, Garbo, another officer and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas./Reporter Jucell Ma. Cuyos With INQUIRER