Gwen unfazed by graft raps
CEBU CITY—Cebu Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia is unfazed by the graft charges filed against her at the Sandiganbayan over the allegedly anomalous construction of the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC), which was used as venue of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (Asean) Summit in 2007.
She said she would not allow the alleged “political harassment” initiated by her opponents to distract her from campaigning for her reelection bid as congresswoman of Cebu’s 3rd district.
“If this were a level playing field, they would know that my opponent was way behind in surveys,” said Garcia, referring to Provincial Board Member Grecilda Sanchez of the Liberal Party, eldest daughter of late Vice Gov. Gregorio Sanchez.
Cebuanos not stupid
Garcia questioned the timing of the indictment, saying it was done in the middle of the election season.
But she said the gimmick might even work to her advantage because Cebuanos are not stupid to fall for it.
Garcia pointed out that her rivals employed the same tactics when they suspended her for abuse of authority in December 2012 during her last term as governor.
The Office of the Ombudsman ordered the filing of 11 counts of graft charges against Garcia and 11 others over the alleged irregularities in the construction of the CICC in 2006 .
Aside from Garcia, also included in the charges were former provincial administrator Eduardo Habin, former provincial general service officer Bernard Calderon, former provincial health officer Cristina Giango, former provincial planning and development officer Adolfo Quiroga, former provincial agrioculturist Necias Vicoy Jr., former provincial treasurer Roy Salubre, former budget Officer Emmy Gingoyon, and former assistant provincial engineer Eulogio Pelayre, provincial legal officer Marino Martinquilla and former provincial environment and natural resources officer Glenn Baricuatro.
They were all members of the Bids and Awards Committee when the project was undertaken.
Also included in the charge sheet was Willy Te, vice president of WT Construction Inc. (WTCI).
The CICC in Mandaue City was built at a cost of more than P800 million to serve as venue of the Asean Summit in January 2007.
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