THE province’s first lady governor was forced to vacate the Capitol in 2013 because she had served her three-term limit. But not before the then Office of the President under former President Benigno Aquino III suspended her for six months for grave abuse of authority over an unauthorized backfilling project in the City of Naga, a move she had described as illegal and politically motivated.
Still, that didn’t stop her from running in the congressional race to represent the third district, which she won. Twice. In 2013 and then again in 2016.
Despite what her detractors and her opponents had said, have said and continue to say against her, Garcia has never lost in Cebu.
I am not saying that because I am a supporter and a believer and a former consultant of Garcia—okay, maybe I am—but it doesn’t change the fact that she won last month’s gubernatorial race with a considerable margin of close to 300,000 votes over her rival. Which was no walk in the park, by the way.
After all, Garcia did try to pass the gubernatorial torch to her brother Pablo John in 2013. She then supported her brother Winston’s gubernatorial bid in 2016. Both of them were unsuccessful in their bids and lost to now former governor Hilario Davide III.
Davide, a former Cebu City councilor and son of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., ran against Garcia in 2010. We all know what happened then. He might have beaten her brothers but at the back of his mind, he knew his chances of winning a reelection against Garcia were slim. I’m not saying that’s what he thought exactly, but it might explain why he opted to run for vice governor instead in the recently concluded midterm elections.
Davide won against Garcia’s running mate Daphne Salimbangon, but he will be presiding over a Provincial Board that is dominated by Garcia’s allies.
But enough about Davide.
This column is dedicated to welcoming back Garcia, who, during the turnover ceremony last Friday, June 28, 2019, said: “Truly, life is stranger than fiction. One can say the plot is too imaginative, but this is not a movie. This is life.”
First she was suspended, then the anti-graft office ordered her disqualification from holding public office for grave misconduct for the purchase of the Balili property in 2008. A week before the elections last month, the Court of Appeals reversed the anti-graft office’s decision, which allowed her to continue with her candidacy for governor.
Talk about a cliffhanger.
Garcia, though, can rest assured that the Cebuanos that she had loved and served faithfully for nine years from 2004 to 2013 as governor wanted her back.
And so tomorrow, July 1, she returns to the Capitol.