Gwen’s motion to lift travel ban denied-A A +A
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
MANILA (Updated) -- The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan had denied for lack of merit the motion of Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia to lift the three hold departure orders (HDOs) issued against her.
The HDOs were issued against Garcia in August 2012 in connection with the 25-hectare Balili Estate in Tinaan, Naga City that the Cebu Provincial Government purchased for P98.9 million in 2008.
In an eight-page resolution released on Wednesday, the Sandiganbayan Second Division said Garcia’s arguments were “devoid of merit.”
Garcia previously asked the court to lift the HDOs, arguing that it was prematurely issued because the Office of the Ombudsman is still reviewing her case.
The Office of the Ombudsman slapped Garcia with two counts of graft and one count of technical malversation over the Provincial Government’s anomalous purchase of the Balili property for a housing site.
The case was filed after it was found out that a “large portion” of the 11 parcels of land were submerged in seawater.
“An HDO is but an exercise of a court’s inherent power to preserve and to maintain the effectiveness of its jurisdiction over the person of the accused,” the ruling read.
The court said that Garcia’s argument that there is no active case before the Sandiganbayan after it ordered the Ombudsman to resolve the Cebu governor’s motion for reconsideration was “untenable.”
“Such action of the court did not oust it of jurisdiction over the cases and over (Garcia). Movant remains charged before the court,” the court said.
Garcia has also been suspended for six months by the Office of the President due to alleged usurpation of power. The administrative case was filed by the late Vice Governor Gregorio Sanchez.
The governor, however, has refused to leave the Capitol and has sought relief with the Court of Appeals. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)