‘Let’s read it first’

Time out.  The Cebu Provincial Board huddles during a recess, before deciding to defer the discussion and approval of a recommendation to suspend Dumanjug Mayor Nelson Garcia (right, foreground). (Sun.Star foto/Amper Campaña)

THE Cebu Provincial Board (PB) deferred its discussion and approval of a recommendation to suspend Dumanjug Mayor Garcia for six months.

PB Member Alex Binghay moved for the postponement, saying he had yet to read the committee on complaints and investigation’s report.

The committee has found Garcia guilty of grave misconduct and grave abuse of authority by usurping the power of the vice mayor when he designated a Sangguniang Bayan secretary.

But before the PB could decide yesterday whether or not to approve the recommendation, PB Member Joven Mondigo Jr. asked if the committee would still want to tackle the two motions the mayor filed.

One was an urgent motion to defer a discussion on the committee report, while the other one was an appeal to give Garcia one day to talk with the board, in a hearing, about what happened.

Mondigo pointed out that if the PB decides on the committee’s report, the motions that Garcia filed would become moot and academic.

In the midst of the discussion, Binghay asked the PB to postpone the approval of the committee report because of the pending motions and to give the PB members time to read the report.

“OK na lang no (It’s OK),” Garcia later said, when asked what he thought of the PB’s postponement. “At least, makakatulog ta’g usa ka semana nga dili magkulob. Makahayang pa tag katulog usa ka semana (At least I can sleep well for one week).”

Next step

The PB will meet again on Monday.

However, Garcia said he no longer expects the committee’s decision to change, because most of the members of the board belong to the Liberal Party. So does Dumanjug Vice Mayor Efren Guntrano Gica, who filed the complaint against the mayor.

The PB members who are Garcia’s allies in the One Cebu party are Mondigo, Binghay and Sun Shimura.

Garcia said he will go to court if the PB decides to approve the committee report.

During the regular session yesterday, Gica sat about two meters away from Garcia, while PB Member Grecilda Sanchez read the committee report. Sanchez serves as vice chair of the investigating committee.

Time to read

With Gica was his father and counsel, lawyer Edgar Gica.

PB Secretary Pulchra Marie Acevedo said during the session that each PB member’s office was furnished a copy of the report last Friday.

“Please give us time to read and rule on the report. I wasn’t here last Friday and offices were closed on Saturday,” Binghay said.

The PB twice went on a five-minute recess to discuss Binghay’s motion. Aside from Binghay, PB Member Shimura also raised his hand and said he has also not read the committee report yet.

PB Members Christopher Baricuatro and Miguel Antonio Magpale, members of the committee on complaints and investigation, told the board they were in favor of Binghay’s motion for a deferment.

After the 45-minute discussion, Binghay’s motion was once again presented to the board, seconded by PB Member Julian Daan and finally approved.

Reporters noticed that before the PB deferred the approval of the committee’s recommendation, Gica and his father were no longer inside the session hall.

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