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Aquino: No Capitol standoff

President Benigno Aquino said the Cebu provincial government was functioning smoothly under Acting Gov. Agnes Magpale and that “there is no standoff” in the Capitol.

The President made his position known yesterday morning as suspended Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia’s defiance of a Malacañang order suspending her for six months enters Day 27.

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Mr. Aquino was in Cebu yesterday to inaugurate a Filipino-Australian shipbuilding venture in Balamban town in the west coast.

He later went to Mandaue City to address a gathering of his Cebu allies in the Liberal Party where he introduced the administration party’s senatorial slate.

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The President, in a news conference, said the situation at the Capitol cannot be considered a “standoff”.

“Our position is there is no standoff in the sense that Governor Magpale is able to exercise the functions of governor and provincial government of Cebu is able to carry out its delivery of services in carrying out its functions for the benefit of the people of Cebu,” he said.

The President reiterated his previous statements that suspended Gov. Gwen Garcia will not be physically removed from her office where she’s been holed up since Dec. 19.

“We do not want to foster any untoward incidents. Therefore, we will exercise maximum tolerance so long as all parties adhere to the law and do not create situations where we will be forced to take more drastic actions,” he said.

“I may reiterate, besides some attempts at trying to hype it up in the media, there is no standoff that we are aware of. In fact, one of the reports is that the police have actually diminished their presence about three weeks ago,” he added.

Asked if he had any message for Gov. Garcia, the President said he would not give her “unsolicited advice” but he is open to talk with her.

“The proper protocol is if she wants to tell me anything she is free as any citizen in this country to tell me the same,” Aquino said.

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“Should I give her advice? I’m not one to encourage unsolicited advice. I would like to give her the same courtesy.”

At the LP rally at the Mandaue City Sports Complex, the President thanked Magpale for her efficient handling of government affairs in the past four weeks.

“Pasalamatan ko na din po si Governor Magpale sa kanyang maayos na pangangasiwa. Tahimik po ang Cebu at ang mga kababayan natin dito. Bagamat meron pong mga ibang sektor na gustong gumawa ng drama at sabihin na nakaka-tense ang Cebu. Mukha pong hindi po yata tama (I’d like to thank her for her efficient management. Cebu is peaceful and so are our compatriots here although there are sectors who wanted to create drama and say Cebu is a tense place. It doesn’t seem correct.),” Mr Aquino said.

No politicking

At a news conference, the President denied claims by the opposition coalition, United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), that the Liberal Party is bullying UNA members with particular reference to Garcia’s case.

Aquino reiterated that politics has nothing to do with Garcia’s suspension.

The President said the 2010 complaint of the late Vice Governor Gregorio Sanchez Jr. underwent strict legal processes which was the basis of his decision in 2012.

The tragic death last year of DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo also affected the case, he said.

”First may intervening event nawawala si Secretary Robredo, may mga legal processes, pinilit nating daanan lahat ng proceso base sa mga kaukulang batas”, Mr Aquino explained.

“Trabaho naming i-execute the laws eh, palagay namin may mga nilabag na batas, dumaan sa proseso at napatunayan, in the case here in Cebu, there was an investigation to determine precisely the veracity of the charges and complaints filed against the governor.”

(We tried to undergo all the legal processes in accordance with law. It is our job to execute the laws and we believe the laws were violated and the case passed through the processes and the allegations were proven.)

The President said it is the opposition UNA that should answer why their members were the ones involved in controversies.

“Ngayon, baka dapat magtanong din ang taong bayan: ‘Bakit iyong mga kakampi ninyo napakaraming issue?’,” Mr Aquino said. (Now, I think the people should also ask: ‘Why are your allies involved in so many issues?).

At the Capitol, where she been holed up for four weeks, Governor Garcia said she remains obedient to the rule of law.

“What they are trying to say is if you’re a public official, obey the rule of law and I fully agree. I totally, completely agree but we’re holding that this suspension order is illegal,” she told reporters at the Governor’s Office yesterday afternoon.

“As public officials, we are sworn to uphold and obey the laws, legal orders, and decrees. I did not take my oath to obey an illegal order,” the governor added.With Reporter Ador Vincent Mayol

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TAGS: Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, Cebu, Gov. Agnes Magpale, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, standoff
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