Forcing the political question
After 17 days and seven days more before the Court of Appeals hears the oral arguments of the petition case filed against the six-month suspension of Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, there seems to be no lowering the ramparts of her Capitol fortress.
What has become clear is the two-track strategy of the camp of the suspended governor.
While trying to seek all available judicial remedy, Garcia is also playing up public sympathy to try to turn the tide against the suspension.
The strategy is not surprising at all since it’s election season.
By going to the Court of Appeals, Garcia acknowledges the justiciability of her case.
But by refusing to obey the suspension order and fortifying herself in the Capitol, she is also saying her suspension is a political question and should be resolved in her favor as a duly elected official.
Invoking both the justiciable and political aspects of her case may not pass rigorous moral and legal standards.
True, the suspended governor has the right to question the suspension order before the court. But unless the court affirms her arguments, the suspension enjoys a presumption of validity.
It would be patriotic for her to obey the order and reaffirm confidence in our judicial processes.
Obviously, she is doing the opposite.
By digging in her heels, Garcia may be forcing the political question.
The drama serves her cause.
She is in the crosshairs of the media and can score propaganda points as much as she wants while she physically occupies the governor’s office.
Some sectors are suggesting that the government exercise its coercive powers to enforce a valid order of the Office of the President.
However, there is obvious reluctance to do so based on fears of a propaganda backlash from creating a martyr out of the suspended governor.
In the meantime, the Capitol impasse looks like it is on an extended run.