CEBU - On his second anniversary as archbishop of Cebu, Archbishop Jose Palma visited suspended Governor Gwendolyn Garcia on Sunday to thank her for supporting the archdiocese and to assure her of his prayers.
It was Palma’s third visit to the embattled governor’s office at the Capitol since her six-month suspension order reached her office last December 19.
“I came over because today (January 12) is the second year of my installation as archbishop of Cebu and I remember pretty well when I came two years ago how much the governor had helped,” Palma said.
“I take it as an occasion to thank her for what she has done for the church in Cebu,” he told Sun.Star Cebu.
Palma first visited Garcia last December 21. He also saw the governor on New Year’s Eve.
In an interview with reporters after his visit on Sunday, the archbishop said he is also grateful to those who made his stay and service in Cebu significant and meaningful.
Palma recalled how the Province helped during the National Thanksgiving Mass for the sainthood of San Pedro Calungsod last November 30, when the Capitol hosted dinner for some 130 priests, bishops and cardinals and some foreign dignitaries at the Cebu International Convention Center.
Palma said that Garcia helped the Catholic Church in Cebu, and he is grateful for that as the archbishop.
On the governor’s suspension, he told her that his prayer is “there should be a speedy and peaceful resolution to the case.”
He believes that many Cebuanos are suffering because of the situation in Capitol, and he hopes that concerned agencies will decide on the matter soon.
“We also pray as always that (there is) justice and a fair judgment (of the case). If decisions have to be made, we hope that it should be fair and soon because as we know, dako kaayo nga (there is a big) suffering on our people and our people would testify,” Palma told reporters.
President Benigno Aquino III, upon the recommendation of the Department of Interior and Local Government, ordered the suspension of Garcia after she was found guilty of grave abuse of authority.
That was the result of the usurpation of authority complaint filed against her by the late vice governor Gregorio Sanchez Jr.
Garcia said she will not leave her office until the Court of Appeals (CA) decides on the petition for review and a temporary restraining order she has filed.
The CA heard the oral arguments on the petition and submitted it for resolution last Thursday. No temporary restraining order has been issued yet.
“My appeal is really an appeal for prayer because I think it is prayer that could touch the hearts and it is (the) will of God that could really give a fair and just decision… I always say ipagpadasal natin (let us pray for it) and we ask the guidance of the Lord because if it is the Lord’s will that’s followed… and of course, (if it is) reflected in the law, then I think God reflected by the law is what is good for everybody,” he added.
Palma lamented that it won’t appear well that a lot of people will be in Cebu this week to celebrate the feast of the Sto. Niño, “yet many of the Cebuanos, because of the situation, really feel sad.”
As for Garcia’s plan to dance during the Sinulog grand parade, Palma said he is not giving any advice to her and he will leave it to the governor to decide on the matter.
After visiting Garcia, Palma went to the old Sacred Heart School on Gen. Maxilom Ave. to preside a mass for the 37th anniversary of the Catholic Charismatic Communities in Cebu.
Palma, a native of Dingle town in Iloilo City, was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI in October 2010 to succeed 81-year-old Ricardo Cardinal Vidal.
On his second year as Cebu’s archbishop, the 62-year-old prelate thanked the Cebuanos, whom he described as “religious people.” (FMG/RSB/Sun.Star Cebu)