Palace: No plans to drag Gwen Garcia outBy Jhunnex Napallacan, TJ Burgonio
Inquirer Visayas, Philippine Daily Inquirer
While suspended Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia appeared to be girding for a siege, Malacañang has no plan to bundle her out of the provincial capitol, officials said Tuesday.
The officials, however, said Garcia’s continued defiance of a suspension order was “ill-advised” and “politically detrimental.”
“To my knowledge, there has been no plan … to bodily carry her out. As we have repeatedly stated, we encourage Gov. Gwen Garcia to observe the rule of law,” presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a text message.
“To my knowledge, we continue to exercise Job’s virtue,” Lacierda said, referring to the biblical character Job known for patience.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, however, said the decision to bodily carry Garcia out of the capitol lay with acting Gov. Agnes Magpale and her people “since they were closest to the ground.”
“As it is now, Garcia is largely ineffective even as she continues to physically occupy the office of the governor,” said Abad.
The Court of Appeals is expected to convene anytime to tackle the petition by Garcia to stop her suspension and issue a temporary restraining order.
In Cebu City, police denied planning to lay siege to the provincial capitol to bodily remove suspended Garcia.
Chief Supt. Marcelo Garbo, Central Visayas police director, said there was no order to send a Special Weapons and Tactics team (SWAT) to the capitol compound as claimed by the Garcia camp.
In her Twitter account, Garcia made a series of posts at 3 a.m. calling for people power to protect her from a supposed police siege meant to bodily remove her from the governor’s office in the capitol.
Garcia was ordered suspended by the President, through Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., for six months for usurpation of authority.
Garbo said he had checked Garcia’s claim with Senior Supt. Louie Oppus, regional deputy director for operations and the ground commander at the capitol, and was told it was not true.
“We haven’t received such an order from the PNP (Philippine National Police) or the Department of the Interior and Local Government,” Garbo said.
Asked why he thought the Garcia camp made such an allegation, Garbo said: “These people are politicians.”
“They’re up to something. This is just a matter of projection,” he said. Garbo said it was just a ploy to gain sympathy and political mileage.