Agnes to move to Gwen’s office-A A +A
Friday, February 1, 2013
WITH suspended Governor Gwendolyn Garcia now out of Capitol, acting Gov. Agnes Magpale will move into the office of the governor.
She said yesterday that she is forced to transfer offices from the vice governor’s to the governor’s because Provincial Board Member Julian Daan, who is acting vice governor, needs her current office to be able to accommodate more employees.
The transfer will take effect next week or as soon as the inventory of Capitol property in the office of the governor is done.
The announcement to transfer came less than 24 hours since Magpale ordered the office of the governor padlocked and barred to prevent Garcia and her staff from occupying it any longer.
That, as Garcia went on with her visits to the towns.
She went to Barili in the third district where she is running for congresswoman, and to Naga in the first district.
She was with her mother, retired judge Esperanza Fiel-Garcia, and her brothers Rep. Pablo John Garcia (Cebu, 3rd district), Barili Vice Mayor Marlon Garcia and Byron Garcia.
Like a turtleb
She said yesterday that she does not regret leaving her office because she is now closer to the Cebuanos who have been waiting to see her again.
“I have no regrets. Moingon lang sad hinuon ko kung sila wa kaha sila magbasol sa ilang gihimo ron kay mura ko og bao nga gilabay ngadto’s tubig (I wonder if they don’t regret what they did. I feel like a turtle thrown into the water),” Garcia told reporters during a visit to Barili town yesterday.
The office of the governor was padlocked while she was in Oslob town for a series of invitations.
Meanwhile, at the Capitol, Magpale is faced with the concern on the fate of Garcia’s staff, who might have to be transferred to the office of Daan, if the Commission on Elections (Comelec) approves of it.
Magpale said she is now conferring with Daan to “swap” employees, since she will not be comfortable working with Garcia’s staff.
She has sought Comelec’s approval to transfer Garcia’s employees to Daan’s Provincial Board office, while Daan’s staff will be reassigned to the governor’s office.
Magpale gave orders to padlock the doors leading to the office of Garcia last Wednesday afternoon, and ordered to cut power and water supply to the governor’s office.
“I felt that she really wanted out (already) so I gave in,” Magpale said of Garcia, who stayed in her office for 42 days since the suspension order against her was served last Dec. 19.
Yesterday, Magpale renewed for one month the contract of Capitol’s casual employees, including those assigned in Garcia’s office.
She also ordered Garcia’s co-terminus employees to report to her office today, Feb. 1, and or face an investigation.
In a memorandum, she asked Garcia’s chief of staff Elizabeth Francia, and employees Ronald Canopio, Jerry Winona Catipay, Edwin Mixdon, Grace Paulino, Elena Samson, Amor Sarmiento and Rowena Zulueta to report to her office. Otherwise, they may be cited for insubordination and other cases.
She also ordered all Capitol employees to record their work time using the bundy clock or biometric machine.
At the Capitol yesterday, the inventory of the things inside Garcia’s office was suspended at 3 p.m. when the inventory team failed to enter Garcia’s main office and private room. The doors were locked and the keys are reportedly with Garcia.
The inventory conducted by Capitol officials and representatives from the Commission on Audit may resume today or next week.
Until Garcia’s office doors are opened, Magpale will be confined to the receiving area and conference room when she transfers there next week.
In the letter she sent to Comelec 7 Director Temie Lambino, Magpale asked whether she can reassign, transfer or move the co-terminus employees under the Office of the Governor to the Office of the Vice Governor.
She cited the prohibited acts during the election period, including the transfer or movement of officers and employees in the civil service.
In a phone interview yesterday, Lambino said Magpale can exercise all powers and
prerogative of her office.
If transferring the employees would be best for the operations of the Office of the Governor, then the transfer is needed, he said.
In related developments:
* The Court of Appeals 12th division has denied the request of the Office of the Solicitor General to submit a memorandum of authorities on Garcia’s six-months suspension.
* At Cebu City Hall, Mayor Michael Rama said he will file charges against Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Chief Marcelo Garbo Jr. for deploying an entire battalion to the Capitol.
In his regular press conference, Rama also demanded the transfer of Garbo, saying the police official has been overstaying at PRO 7.
“I was shocked. There would have been a better way to do it. I am serious in filing a case. There is so much demonstration as if there is oppression and lawlessness in Cebu City… Are they planning to convert Capitol into a garrison?” Rama said.
What these charges are, Rama is leaving it to his lawyers.
* At the PRO 7, Senior Supt. Edward Carranza, head of the PRO 7’s directorial staff, said the police will not drive Garcia away if she decides to go back to her office but she will be asked to peacefully heed the closure order.
In a press briefing yesterday, Carranza said their role at the Capitol last Wednesday was to help carry out Magpale’s order and to ensure peace and order.
“We didn’t padlock the office. It can be seen on the video. We were there also to observe, in case there would be resistance,” he said.
Carranza also clarified that the co-terminus employees of Garcia were not physically removed as they voluntarily heeded Magpale’s order to abandon the office.
“They have sealed all their drawers that were left behind and marked them with their signatures,” he said.
He also said that after some policemen were seen carrying long firearms inside the Capitol building, he called their attention and ordered them to use short firearms instead.
Carranza said he will send policemen to the governor’s office if asked.
* In Naga City, Mayor Valdemar Chiong said Magpale’s order to padlock Garcia’s office benefitted Garcia because the people of Cebu now sympathized with the suspended governor.
“In their (Magpale’s) mind, it maybe to their advantage. But there was no need since (Garcia) was no longer functioning as governor,” said Chiong, an ally of the Garcias.
During their meeting with the city’s barangay chiefs, Chiong assured Garcia and Pablo John that Naga City will continue to support them during the May 2013 midterm elections.
* In Barili, barangay health workers, tanods, barangay and town officials gathered in front of the Mantalongon Livestock Market where two tents were placed for a short program that had the Garcias as guests.
Gwen greeted the vendors in each stall while strolling. She shared with them what she went through in her 42 days of stay in her office at the Capitol.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 01, 2013.