‘Standoff’ affects public access to Capitol building
People transacting business at the Capitol were asked to be patient with the current security setup which has restricted entry to the public since mid December.
“I’m asking the public to bear with the inconvenience because peace and order will eventually return to the Capitol,” acting Cebu Gov. Agnes Magpale said.
The main wooden entrance doors to the Capitol building remain closed since Dec. 19, when Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia was served a suspension order and defied it, calling on followers to come to the Captiol to show their support.
Only one entrance door at the rear of the building is used by Capitol employees reporting for work and the general public.
The compound still has only one vehicle entrance gate near the Governor’s Office but direct access to the east wing where Garcia stays is limited to her family, staff, visitors and media men.
Not a few taxpayers complained about the inconvenience.
Long lines of Capitol employees wait for their turn to register their time card in the bundy clock.
“What happened to the Capitol? Why are we being made to suffer the inconvenience when we’re just trying to process our papers?” said one taxpayer who requested anonymity.
Magpale said she already ordered the police to open the main door entrance and another door leading to the Palace of Justice.
The suspended governor is still holed up in her office 18 days after the Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG) issued the suspension order on her.
The hall leading to her office is occupied by her supporters. The door leading to the area is covered by scotch tape with a chain attached to it.
The plywood board nailed to the windows of the governor’s office were lowered but supporters say these can be mounted again to stop any hostile force from forcibly entering to get Garcia.
A distance from the governor’s office, policemen stand as sentries in a corner of the Capitol building.
Less than 50 policemen in three shifts remain posted in sensitive offices like the treasurer’s office and cash division at the request of Acting Governor Magpale.
Magpale said she hopes Garcia realizes the detrimental effects of her continued presence in her office on transactions and public access to the Capitol.
Governor Garcia is awaiting the Court of Appeals’ decision on her petition for a temporary restraining order against the suspension order issued by the Office of the President. A hearing is set on Jan. 10 in Manila. /Correspondent REnan Alangilan