Guv’s staff files grave abuse, misconduct cases against Magpale, police-A A +A
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
TWO members of suspended Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia’s staff sued Acting Gov. Agnes Magpale and seven others for locking the governor’s office at the Capitol last January 30.
Garcia’s chief of staff, Elizabeth Francia, and Amor Sarmiento, executive assistant, filed charges of grave abuse of authority, gross misconduct, grave coercion and graft against Magpale, Chief Supt. Marcelino Garbo of the Police Regional Office, Supt. Leopoldo Cabanag, Sr. Insp. Eduardo Caranza, Insp. Alvin Enguito, lawyer Dara Acusar, Provincial Administrator Eduardo Habin and engineer Hector Jamora before the Visayas Ombudsman.
Acusar said they will answer the charges in due time. But at present, Magpale’s camp would want to focus on the 2011 Commission on Audit on the Provincial Government, she added.
“We will not be distracted from the bigger issues at hand,” she said.
In their complaint, Francia and Sarmiento said they were surprised when asked by the media if it was true that Magpale ordered the governor's office padlocked.
They said Magpale had the office padlocked when Garcia was in the southern town of Oslob.
They said the doors of the governor's office were padlocked at 3 p.m. under the supervision of Habin and Jamora.
“Up until that time, we had not received any order from any authority about the presence of the policemen and some officers of the Province as well as their act of closing the entrances leading to the govenor's office on the ground floor, " the complainants said.
They said the police came to stand near one of the doors of the governor’s office “without introducing themselves, much less explaining the purpose of their presence.”
Francia said Acusar admonished and told them that those who insisted on staying inside the office would be charged with trespassing or theft if any item inside the office is missing.
Francia also accused Acusar of speaking to her in a “curt manner.”
Francia said a group of policemen blocked her from returning to her desk after she went to the comfort room.
She said Cabanag disallowed her to return to the governor's office upon the orders of Garbo and Magpale. She added that she managed to return to her office after about 20 minutes of pushing and shoving against several policemen.
At 8 p.m., she said, the governor’s brother, Byron, advised her to yield.
Francia said they finally left the govenor's office at around 9 p.m., after what she called as a "gruelling encounter" with the respondents.
“We were unceremoniously and forcibly booted out of the office that we have been reporting to as employees of the Province of Cebu and were unduly prevented from the lawful exercise of our profession,” the complainants said.
Acusar said the COA report will be posted on the Capitol website soon so that the public can comment on it.
She said the COA questioned P192.82 million worth of contracts entered into by Governor Garcia in 2011 without the Provincial Board’s approval and the alleged misuse of P50.695 million of a P100-million Malacañang funds for environmental projects.
Acusar said other issues that also need focus include the Balili case.
She said Francia and Sarmiento’s complaint is one of many cases they expect the Garcia’s camp to file to “muddle the issue.” She cited the case filed by a Sugbo TV staff and the robbery charges that Pablo “Paulo” Garcia III lodged against Magpale and PNP officials.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 06, 2013.