Capitol officials waiting to reopen, clean up gov’s office | Inquirer News
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Capitol officials waiting to reopen, clean up gov’s office

Is it time to unlock the Governor’s Office now?

Capitol officials have not pegged a date to break the seals and reopen the office of suspended Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia which was shut down on Jan. 30 to prevent her from continuing a four-week stay-in protest.

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Both sides are waiting for June 19.

That’s the day after her six-month suspension by the Office of the President officially ends – unless another event intervenes.

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Acting Gov. Agnes Magpale said that while she wants to prepare for a smooth transition to the new Governor-elect Hilario Davide III, who’s eyeing July 1, she has to wait for developments.

She said the June 19 date gives Gwen 11 days to resume her post as governor since her term ends at noontime of June 30.

What both parties are closely monitoring is whether another suspension order will be handed down, either by Malacañang for an administrative charge or as a preventive suspension by the Office of the Ombudsman, which is prosecuting the P98.9 million Balili land purchase case in the Sandiganbayan.

After Garcia was arraigned before the anti-graft court and entered a plea of not guilty, a preventive suspension is expected as a matter of course.

“Kung way mahitabo, wa man gyud. Maghuwat lang ta because we haven’t contacted them (Garcia) about opening the office,” said Magpale.

Various furniture, paintings and other personal belongings of Garcia are still stored in the east wing office of the Capitol.

Magpale said she wants to avoid what happened last December when Garcia’s son Paolo filed a robbery complaint against her and the police over the confiscation of tents at the Capitol used by their supporters during the tension following the December 19 suspension.

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She said that in a “normal situation,” the office can be turned over.

“I’ll wait for the decision of Governor-elect Davide, whether we open it already. We don’t have the consent of Gov. Gwendolyn about her private things inside,” she said.

An inventory was made by Garcia’s staff and family last February where each chair, desk, paintings, and item was listed, tagged and stored in the office.

In an earlier interview, Davide said he would hold office in the Governor’s Office by July 1.

“Eventually, that would follow. Where will I hold office if it won’t be opened?’” he said.

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