LP to hound Gwen with charges-A A +A
Friday, January 11, 2013
LIBERAL Party (LP) allies are contemplating filing 16 criminal and administrative charges against Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and other members of the Garcia family.
Among the alleged offenses of the Garcia camp is the illegal use of government-owned vehicles to transport Gwen’s supporters to Capitol for the rally last Wednesday afternoon, which the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas also noted.
Gwen said yesterday that they are ready to face charges.
Lawyer Edgar Gica, LP Cebu provincial chapter spokesperson, said they are now collating the facts as basis for the cases they will file against the Garcias.
In an ABS-CBN TV Patrol Cebu report, Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Pelagio Apostol urged those who witnessed the use of government vehicles during the rally to file a complaint before his office.
He said government vehicles are “strictly for official use only.”
“So ano ba ang ibig sabihin nun? (What does that mean?) Was the activity official?” he asked.
For LP Cebu chairman Hilario Davide III, the use of government resources for purely partisan political activities “is highly improper and illegal.”
“I deplore the use of government resources for what is clearly a partisan political activity,” he said in a statement.
Government officials should handle taxpayers’ money with care, he said.
Gica said other members of the Garcia family who might face charges are Gwen’s father Deputy Speaker Pablo Garcia (Cebu 2nd), her brother Rep. Pablo John Garcia (Cebu, 3rd) and her son Paolo and his friends.
Gica said Gwen may be charged for her continued stay in her office at the Capitol despite the memorandum from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) that named Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale acting governor.
“Her continued and unauthorized stay in the Capitol complicates matters for her,” Gica told Sun.Star Cebu.
In a phone interview, he said one of the cases they might file is for for illegal use of public funds and property.
He cited the use of Province-owned multicabs to transport her supporters to Capitol during Wednesday’s rally.
About 5,000 people from different towns and cities joined the rally in front of the Capitol to show their support for the governor.
He said LP is still coordinating with their leaders on when to file the charges.
In a press conference at the Capitol yesterday, Gwen assured LP allies that they are ready to face any charge the rival camp will file against them.
“Well, that establishes a pattern, does it not? And exposes the manner by which they hope to win in an electoral fight where at the present prospects, it’s obvious that they are being left far behind in so far as the One Cebu candidates, specifically Pablo John Garcia, is concerned,” she said.
“I may wish to remind them also that they might be too busy focusing on running after me that they might forget to campaign,” she said.
At City Hall yesterday, Mayor Michael Rama clarified he did not instruct City employees to help organize the prayer rally in support of Gwen.
A few City Hall employees were seen joining the prayer rally at the Fuente Osmeña circle, and the stage put up by City Hall for the Christmas and Sinulog festivities were also used.
Rama said it is up to the department heads to investigate the presence of their employees at the event.
The mayor earlier said that City Hall employees who want to support Garcia and join the prayer rally must go on leave.
“I cannot be catching them one by one, the department head has to take responsibility,” said Rama.
He said his only instruction was for the City Traffic Operations Management and the Cebu City Police Office “to allow freedom to be alive in the city.”
Meanwhile, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma chooses to pray for the speedy resolution of the conflict resulting from Gwen’s suspension.
“I had always expressed my prayer and concern for people and that the issue be settled soon. This would be much appreciated,” he told reporters yesterday.
“We are also making this appeal to people especially branches of government that have a direct responsibility to a speedy resolution,” he said.
Palma said decisions related to the resolution of the conflict should be done by either party independently.
“I will not meddle in this particular controversy… I have no open advice or no direct influence in this matter. (So) much more (that) the case is sub judice,” he said yesterday after he delivered the keynote address at the Association of Catholic Universities of the Philippines (Acup) held at the University of San Carlos.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 11, 2013.