Guv should now bring fight to the people-A A +A
Monday, January 14, 2013
THE Court of Appeals still has to decide the application of Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia for the issuance of a temporary restraining order against her six-month suspension by Malacañang. The 12th Division, which heard oral arguments on the motion last Thursday, should be able to come up with a resolution within the week.
In the meantime, everyone and his cousin have become instant experts on remedial law, dishing out opinions on Rule 43 and Rule 65 as if they were born with the Revised Rules of Civil Procedure as twin. I must confess to a certain sense of envy and insecurity, having barely passed the subject in the bar examinations. If it’s any consolation, other lawyers confess to the same inadequacy.
All these came about following news reports that the 12th Division chairman, Justice Vicente Veloso, had wondered in the course of the oral arguments whether it would have suited the petitioner (Garcia) better if her lawyers had availed of the remedies under Rules 65 (for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus) instead of taking the appeal route under Rule 43.
Aha, the experts chorused, Garcia’s lawyers had blundered big time. Not so, said the governor’s lawyer daughter, Cristina Frasco. They believed that they had chosen the appropriate remedy when they filed the appeal, she said, and continue to so believe, notwithstanding Veloso’s remarks.
It must be pointed out that Rule 65 itself says that it can be availed of only if “there is no appeal, or any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law” and that Rule 43 provides for that appeal, although one would ask whether an appeal would be adequate remedy considering that the judgment appealed from is, by law, final and executory.
Like any student of the law, I look forward to the day when the court finally supplies the answer. The 12th Division, as I earlier said, should be able to come up within the week with a resolution that should touch, even if only in passing, the matter of choice of remedies on the part of the suspended governor. But the final say should belong to the Supreme Court since both parties are expected to appeal an adverse decision.
That could take time. In the meanwhile, what should Garcia do? She has repeatedly declared that she would exhaust all legal remedies against her suspension and that, until then, she will not leave her office in the Capitol. There are no indications that she has wavered from that stance but as a pragmatic politician, she will have to ask herself one of these days whether it is worth clinging to her office which, to her, has become symbolic of her resistance.
The campaign period for national positions has already opened. In less than 45 days, the official campaign season for candidates for local offices will also begin. Surely, she does not see herself holing up in the Capitol until election day.
My unsolicited advice to the governor is for her to step down now and bring her case directly to the people. She cannot risk an adverse judgment even from the Court of Appeals because that would take away a lot of sting from her cause. How can the people believe that she has been oppressed if the Court of Appeals declares that her suspension is legitimate?
She should also consider the collateral damage that the impasse has brought upon her family and friends. Yesterday, when I read the Inquirer.net story on Archbishop Jose Palma’s latest visit to Garcia, I was surprised by the sheer number and virulence of the comments against the archbishop.
Come on, Gov. You have nothing more to prove by staying in the Capitol. Bring your fight to your people and spare yourself, your family and friends from unnecessary suffering.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 15, 2013.