pork barrel

Byron confronts Capitol official for turning back on Gwen

BYRON Garcia, the tough-talking brother of suspended Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, yesterday barged into the office of Provincial Administrator Eduardo Habin and called him an an “ingrate” for cooperating with Acting Gov. Agnes Magpale.

Habin, one of the Capitol’s oldest career officials who has served several governors, including Byron’s father, Pablo, chose to distance himself.

He asked permission to hold office somewhere else for the meantime and moved out of the main Capitol building.

“Governor Magpale immediately responded to my request and even assigned security escorts to watch over me,” he said.

Habin now holds office next to Magpale’s office at the 4th floor of the Legislative Building.

“Naglikay lang ko para wala nay samok (I just want to avoid trouble).” he said.

The emotional encounter highlighted the tension still felt among some Capitol personnel caught between two governors occupying the government facility since Dec. 19, when a suspension order was served on Garcia, who refuses to move out of her office or recognize the suspension by President Benigno Aquino.

Habin, a soft-spoken, slightly built man with spectacles, said the Garcias should not take it against Capitol employees who follow the new setup since they were following a a direct order of the Department of Interior and Local Government.

Habin was the Capitol department head who visited Gwen in her office on Dec. 22 before the Christmas break to greet her a Merry Christmas and asked her to understand employees who now follow orders of Magpale.

“I’m not loyal to an individual person but I’m loyal to the service,” he explained then.

Habin is a career official who has served the Capitol for 32 years, not a political appointee or a fixed-term consultant like Byron whose contract as Capitol security consultant was not renewed by his sister in 2010 when they had a falling out.

Byron has figured in verbal confrontations before with various parties, the latest being Chief Supt. Marcelo Garbo Jr., whom he challenged to a fistfight.

Yesterday, Byron said he didn’t threaten Habin but just reminded him that his appointment was co-terminous with his sister and that Habin should have resigned out of “delicadeza” when Magpale called for department heads. Byron said he felt bad that the the offical “abandoned” his sister who had supported Habin in the past. / Carmel Loise Matus and Renan Alangilan

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Tags: Byron Garcia , Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia , Provincial Administrator Eduardo Habin

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