MANILA, Philippines — While its order suspending Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia was final, Malacañang would respect any temporary restraining order from the court, Malacañang said on Monday.
President Aquino’s spokesperson, Edwin Lacierda, said the Office of the President’s decision on Garcia was final and executory, and could not be “stopped’’ by any TRO.
But in a briefing, Lacierda added: “The Court of Appeals will convene next year, and it’s certain that they will study what will be their decision on the TRO. If ever they issue a TRO, certainly, the government will respect that.’’
Garcia was suspended for six months over alleged grave abuse of authority stemming from the complaint of usurpation of authority filed in 2010 by then Vice Gov. Greg Sanchez. Sanchez died of cancer a year later.
A vote-rich province, Cebu has played a large role in the election of national candidates.
Garcia, a member of the politically entrenched Garcia clan, had petitioned the Court of Appeals to stop the Department of Interior and Local Government from implementing the order, and decided to hole up in her office at the provincial capitol pending the outcome of the case.
If the court would not issue a TRO, Lacierda said Garcia should then “follow the rule of law.” “Meantime, let’s wait because there’s no action yet by the Court of Appeals on the matter,’’ he said.
Lacierda said the government was not setting a deadline for the stand-off at the Cebu provincial capitol to end, saying the OSG has submitted its comment on the matter.
The suspension order has put the administration on a collision course with Garcia and the United Nationalist Alliance, which has thrown its support behind Garcia.
Lacierda also said that the President and Vice President Jejomar Binay, who along with Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and former President Joseph Estrada flew to Garcia’s side last Sunday, never had a chance to talk.
“Apart from their meeting during the Rizal Day, there was no chance for them to talk so we don’t know if they had talked about it. But remember there is a pending petition for TRO with the Court of Appeals. Let’s just wait for the Court of Appeals decision,’’ he said.