Cebu is not bankrupt, says suspended gov

Posted at 12/28/12 9:57 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Suspended Cebu governor Gwendolyn Garcia on Friday denied that the province had gone bankrupt.

Garcia was reacting to a report by acting Cebu Gov. Agnes Almendras Magpale saying the Cebu government has been operating in the red.

In a press conference on Thursday, Magpale cited a report from Provincial Treasurer Roy Salubre that estimated that Cebu has P200 million in debt but has only P90.4 million in general funds or liquid assets as of December 26, 2012.

Garcia, who was given a 6-month suspension for grave abuse of authority, slammed the report, saying Magpale was presenting a "distorted financial picture" in an effort to put her down.

"Iyun ang isang conclusion na ibig ipabigay ni Vice Governor [Agnes] Magpale sa kanyang pagnanais ipakita talaga na napaka-sama ng pagdala ko ng province," Garcia told dzMM.

"Eh hindi niya naiisip na iyung pag-nanais niya to put me down, napapasama niya ang image ng Cebu," she added.

The embattled Cebu governor said the figure for payables presented by Magpale was a mere projection. She added that aside from the P90.4 million general fund, the provincial government has over P200 million in trust fund which can be reverted to the general fund.

Garcia said that the province is also receiving some P133 million monthly as its Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA).

"There are available funds as the bills arrive, and as the bills are processed," she said.

She also accused the acting governor of threatening the capitol employees of insubordination charges if they would not follow her orders.

Garcia has been holed up inside the Cebu Provincial Capitol since last week, in an act of defiance of the suspension order issued by President Benigno Aquino III.

She was charged with grave abuse of authority for withholding the funds for the office of the late Vice Governor Gregorio Sanchez Jr.

The standoff in Cebu is considered as one of the major collisions between the ruling Liberal Party and the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), where Garcia belongs.

The UNA coalition, led by Vice President Jejomar Binay and former President Joseph Estrada, has accused the LP of using its political clout as the ruling party to grab influence in the vote-rich province of Cebu.

The Binay-led coalition said the move by the government smacks of politics, noting that Magpale is the sister of an Aquino ally, Secretary to the Cabinet Jose Rene Almendras.