Comelec lawyer asks: Who’s the current Cebu governor?-A A +A
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
CEBU CITY -- Incumbent governors and members of Congress are allowed to keep two of their security personnel, despite the start of the election period last Sunday.
But who should get that exemption: suspended Governor Gwendolyn Garcia or Acting Governor Agnes Magpale?
“Who is considered incumbent governor between them, the one who was duly elected as provincial governor but currently suspended, or the one who succeeded her as acting governor and is currently exercising the powers and functions of the Office of the Provincial Governor?”
Cebu Provincial Election Supervisor Lionel Marco Castillano raised the question in his letter to Commission on Elections (Comelec) Regional Director Temie Lambino Monday.
He expects their regional office to forward the letter to the Comelec central office.
The new Comelec Resolution 9608, which amended Comelec Resolution 9561, regulates the carrying of firearms outside one’s residence and employing bodyguards.
Also on Monday, Governor Garcia highlighted in her manifestation that the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) from the Court of Appeals will “surely prevent the risk of violence and bloodshed” in the province.
Garcia, through her lawyers, submitted a “manifestation with supplemental reply” Monday in the Court of Appeals in Manila.
They pointed out that the TRO, if granted by the Court of Appeals, may ease tension and prevent the risk of bloodshed if the Special Weapons and Tactics (Swat) or armed police goes to the Office of the Governor to forcibly remove her, while the CA studies the petition.
Magpale assumed office as acting governor last December 19, after the Department of Interior and Local Government left a copy in Garcia’s office of the order suspending her for six months. The decision resulted from an administrative complaint filed in 2010.
The Garcia camp believes the suspension order is illegal and is fighting it in court.
In the meantime, Garcia has been staying in her Capitol office since December 19.
Meanwhile, Castillano said the Comelec processes permits for firearms and security personnel of incumbent governors, with the help of the PNP and the Armed Forces.
From his office, applications are forwarded to the committee on the ban on firearms and security personnel, which decides on the applications.
Resolution 9608 allows incumbent members of Congress and governors to retain two “regular security personnel” or bodyguards who “have been provided by officers or members of the PNP, AFP, NBI or others for at least one year at the time of the promulgation of this resolution.”
As of Monday, Castillano said, Governor Garcia has not yet applied to retain her two PNP detailed security personnel.
Applications for protective security personnel or bodyguards are filed in the provincial Comelec office, said Castillano.
From there, he said, they will ask PNP and AFP for a threat assessment.
With the PNP’s threat assessment, the provincial Comelec office will forward the application to the Regional Joint Security Control Center or RJSCC.
The RJSCC, upon assessment, will provide a temporary security detail, good for 30 days, to the applicant. The regional control center then forwards the application to the committee on the ban on firearms and security personnel.
Commissioner Elias Yusoph, chairman of the committee, will then grant or reject the request for a permanent security detail.
Governor Garcia and her camp have questioned the police for sending Swat teams to the Capitol last December 22. They were once again seen on December 30 and on January 5.
This was after reports came that Garcia will be forcibly taken out from office.
Last January 10, an oral argument was held at the CA for the petition filed by Garcia.
Garcia was allowed to present her witnesses.
Her lawyers said she asked the Court of Appeals for a TRO and to make it a permanent preliminary injunction.
During the oral argument, it was mentioned that the CA cannot issue a TRO in the same way as the Supreme Court. Associate Justice Vicente Veloso suggested that Garcia should have filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 so that a TRO will be granted.
One of the governor’s lawyers, Atty. Tranquil Salvador, said he was surprised that such a suggestion would be a big story here in Cebu.
“In the course of their asking questions, they may ask any questions which they feel to be necessary for them to be enlightened, not necessarily (shape) the decision that they made,” Salvador said in a press conference Monday.
The lawyer cited the case of Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte against the Office of the Ombudsman, where the CA issued a TRO after Duterte had filed a petition for review under Rule 43.
They also cited the case of Enrico Echiverri, mayor of Caloocan City, versus the Office of the Ombudsman. The CA issued a TRO and a writ of preliminary injunction.
Earlier, lawyer Cristina Garcia-Frasco, Garcia’s daughter and one of her legal counsels, said that they chose Rule 43 as it is the remedy made available by the Rules of Court.
“The power of the Court of Appeals to issue a TRO is similar to the power of the Supreme Court to do the same. No such limitation exists on the power of the Court of Appeals to issue a TRO, as they are both empowered to grant provisional remedies in the respective cases pending before them,” a part of the manifestation read.
It was also cited in the petition that Garcia has “fully established” the urgency and the grave and irreparable injury” that would occur if no TRO is issued.
It says that the “invalid” suspension order shortens the tenure of Garcia as a third-term governor of Cebu. (FMG/OCP of Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 15, 2013.