Editorial: The real battleground

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

THE worst thing to happen to an employee of a local government unit (LGU) is when he or she is caught between two warring political forces. This is what is happening to employees of the Provincial Government and their department heads who are caught in a tug-of-war between the camps of suspended Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and acting governor Agnes Magpale.

Even “number one” Provincial Board Member Julian Daan, who is with Garcia’s One Cebu party and who, by virtue of succession, should have automatically assumed the post of vice governor, was initially in a similar bind. He was caught between his loyalty to the governor and the threat of being cited for insubordination.

Things seemed to have changed late yesterday when Magpale held a press conference with Capitol department heads behind her and Daan beside her. It looks like the acting governor, with the full force of Malacañang (and the police) backing her, has finally solidified the takeover.


It was also a sign that Garcia is starting to accept her fate by letting go of the department heads and even Daan, and shifting her focus to the legal aspect of the struggle. This should be a welcome development for those caught in the middle of the conflict.

Critics of the governor, like her bitter rival Rep. Tomas Osmeña, have expectedly tried rubbing salt on a gaping wound, sort of, by mocking her refusal to step down.

But her initial response was borne of the feeling that she is being treated unfairly and that the motive behind the issuance of the suspension order was for the Liberal Party (LP) to gain political advantage in the 2013 gubernatorial race.

Reports say that the Court of Appeals has failed to act Friday on Garcia’s plea for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO). Whether the CA eventually issues the TRO or not, the hope is that both camps will respect whatever the ruling would be.

Chances are this will be a long-drawn conflict, one that wouldn’t end with Garcia’s ouster from the Capitol. With the perceived political motivation behind her suspension, the venue of conflict’s final resolution will therefore be the 2013 gubernatorial polls.

Will the voters uphold the suspension of Garcia by choosing an LP governor, or will they repudiate it by electing a One Cebu governor? With Gwen’s suspension, the gubernatorial race has gotten more interesting.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 22, 2012.


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