Gov’t barred from raising new arguments on Garcia suspension-A A +A
Thursday, January 31, 2013
MANILA (Updated) -- The Court of Appeals (CA) has stopped government lawyers from expounding on Malacañang's decision to suspend Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia for six months.
In a two-page resolution, the CA 12th division, which hears the petition for temporary restraining order (TRO) asked by Garcia's camp, denied the Office of Solicitor General's request to submit a memorandum of authorities.
“There being nothing to discuss and to argue on said incident, the same is hereby deemed submitted for resolution,” division chair Associate Justice Vicente Veloso said on January 22.
Meanwhile, Garcia’s counsel, Tranquil Salvador, said locking the governor out of her Capitol office was improper since her petition for 60-day TRO is still pending before the CA in Manila.
“The matter is still in court. They should have waited until proper action is taken by the court,” Salvador told Sun.Star Cebu by the phone.
Salvador said they are studying their next legal action.
Garcia left her office last Wednesday to visit southern towns but was prevented from returning to the Capitol because Acting Governor Agnes Magpale ordered her office padlocked.
The governor, who has been suspended since December 19, 2012, questioned the timing of the issuance of the Palace directive because of its proximity to the start of the election period.
The election season began last January 13. Along with the gun ban, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) also ruled that local officials can no longer be suspended at this time of the year.
Garcia, who is seeking a seat in the House of Representatives in May, was suspended because she allegedly reduced the budget of the Office of the Vice Governor and hired employees of the Provincial Board without authority from then Vice Governor Gregorio Sanchez Jr.
Salvador said, though, that padlocking Garcia’s office will not affect the petition for TRO.
He dismissed speculations that Garcia political opponents' move preempted the outcome of the petition for TRO since the governor’s term of office ends in June this year.
“Whether she's in or out of the Capitol will not, in any way, resolve the fact of her entitlement to that remaining term,” he said.
Oliveros Kintanar, a lawyer of the late vice governor Sanchez, described last Wednesday's episode at the Capitol as a "battle of game plans."
“The Liberal (Party) is withholding the resolution of TRO (temporary restraining order) in CA (Court of Appeals) to keep Garcia in her office so she could not campaign. Garcia had to find a strong reason to leave her office over her promise never to abandon that office,” Kintanar said in a text message.
He recalled that Garcia’s first attempt to leave her office was when she danced during the Sinulog, but she was allowed to return to her office.
“The trip to Oslob did the trick. Magpale was lured into a trap and it appears that Garcia did not abandon he office but was compelled to do so as the office was padlocked,” Kintanar said. With this scenario, the lawyer said that One Cebu can freely campaign without abandoning the office.
“The Liberal Party seems smart but One Cebu is smarter,” said Kintanar. (Virgil Lopez of Sunnex/GMD of Sun.Star Cebu)