SPECULATIONS spread like wild fire that the contract of Capitol consultant on security matters, Byron Garcia, was not renewed after Gov. Gwen Garcia suddenly announced last week that she was taking full control of and responsibility for the operations of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC).

The cat is out of the bag, so to speak.

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Gwen and Byron, her younger brother, had a falling out.

What was the reason? Apparently, it was all about operations at the provincial jail. Byron was accused of running the affairs at the facility and implementing policies without even the courtesy of informing his sister, the governor. He also reportedly conducted business inside the jail, like supplying goods and items for the canteen and food stuff for the inmates’ ration.

The governor, in her press statement, made it clear that she is the official jailer and that the jail warden is only there to implement her policy and supervise its day-to-day operations.

As a consultant, Byron is tasked only to oversee how the governor’s policies are being implemented and come up with recommendations.

But the way Byron was acting, it seemed he was designated as the jail warden. Since then, the governor issued a memorandum that all jail activities should have her prior approval.

Byron could not be reached for comment. I was trying to get in touch with him during my radio program last Saturday but his cellular phone just kept on ringing. He did not also issue a statement to the media since the controversy between him and his sister came out last week. Byron used to ne publicity-conscious.

Now he evades the media. Published reports said he had already taken out his personal belongings from the jail and the choreographer for the internationally-known CPDRC dancing inmates has also resigned.

Byron’s contract as a consultant is still under review, the governor said. But what about his other functions at the Capitol? He was also charged with the operations at the South Bus Terminal, and the security plan and the parking bay at the Capitol compound.

The governor was irked when allegations and innuendos surfaced that her brother was making money managing the provincial jail, and donations, especially from foreign guests who watched the inmates’ performance, were not properly accounted for.

But according to sources, all donations were issued receipts by the provincial treasurer’s office. The recent activity of the inmates where they danced with the choreographer of the late pop icon Michael Jackson that was filmed for international release by Sony Productions Inc. was one of the reasons for the fallout between Gwen and Byron.

There were allegations that the production company gave Byron “goodwill” money because the shoot had a commercial value.

The company distributed T-shirts and pairs of branded shoes to participating inmates. Byron also initially agreed to the proposal of a soap manufacturing firm to tap the dancing inmates as endorsers of its product without the consent of the governor. Gwen resented the proposal.

Sources said the governor decided to take Byron out of the jail and withhold the renewal of his contract because she cannot afford to put him under investigation, as it will create a family intramurals. Well, blood is thicker than water.

But in fairness to Byron, he was responsible for a lot of changes, including the improved behavior of the CPDRC inmates. I hope they keep on dancing.

(bgnalzaro@gmanetwork.com)