UNA, LP set showdown over Cebu governor

Posted at 12/24/12 5:50 PM

Garcia to welcome Christmas at capitol

MANILA, Philippines -- Embattled Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia will not come home to her family for Christmas. Instead, they will be joining her at the Cebu Provincial Capitol where she will stay “for as long as it takes.”

In an interview with ANC, Garcia said she is also prepared to spend her daughter Christina’s birthday, also on December 25, at her office in the capitol.

“All my children are in agreement that I should stand up for this case no matter what inconvenience or difficulties we’ll take,” she said.

Garcia was found earlier guilty of grave abuse of authority in connection with administrative charges filed against her by the late Cebu Vice Governor Greg Sanchez Jr. in 2010. Sanchez had accused Garcia of allegedly diverting the province's budget for different shady contracts.

While the Court of Appeals -- where she took her petition against the Department of Interior and Local Government -- is closed for the holidays, she hopes that the government will respect its jurisdiction.

“Once the court has taken cognizance [of a case], it is incumbent upon the DILG not to pre-empt it,” she said.

Malacanang, nonetheless, would not bend and said Garcia should just follow the rule of law.

Déjà vu

Garcia said her case is similar to that of Vice President Jejomar Binay when he was still mayor of Makati.

In 2006, Binay held his fort at the city hall after being served a suspension order by Malacanang for supposedly paying for the wages of ghost employees.

“It seemed like a déjà vu, Nancy [Binay’s daughter] also came. She commented: ‘It seems like I’ve been here before,’” she added.

The Binays, former President Joseph Estrada and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile went to Cebu on Sunday to show their total support for Garcia. All are leaders of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), which is gearing up for the 2013 mid-term elections.

Binay asked the government to respect the “rule of law.”

Rule of law

But members of the administration Liberal Party also has a different take on the “rule of law.” They asked that Garcia should also follow this.

In a statement, LP secretary general and Transport Sec. Joseph Emilio Abaya said: “Dapat irespeto po natin ang pagpapairal ng batas o yung tinatawag na rule of law. Sana po ay hindi hikayatin ng mga lider ng UNA ang patuloy na pagmamatigas ni Gov. Garcia sapagka't legal na order galing sa Office of the President ang suspension order na ipinatupad ng DILG.”

He said the DILG will follow any orders from the appellate court, if there is one.

Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone added that the presence of the three UNA officials there on Sunday spoke volumes, noting that the UNA officials’ actions are contrary to what they have earlier proclaimed.

He said UNA claimed to criticize constructively the administration of President Benigno Aquino III and not to merely oppose.

UNA said a statement will be issued Wednesday.