ALBAY Representative.Edcel Lagman said he disagreed with the position of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez in relation to the dismissal order against Deputy Speaker and Cebu 3rd District Representative Gwendolyn Garcia.
On Monday, Alvarez said he will not implement the Ombudsman's order stemming from Garcia's alleged involvement in the P24.4-million contract signed in April 2012 for the supply of backfill material for the Balili property in the City of Naga in Cebu. The acquisition of the Balili property was also deemed anomalous, considering that the bulk of the land is underwater.
Alvarez said he will be violating the Constitution if he will implement the order as the Constitution states that only the House of Representatives has the power to discipline or remove its members.
Reacting to this, Lagman at a press conference on Tuesday said that the "Ombudsman's law is clear with respect to the implementation of the decisions of the Ombudsman even pending motion for reconsideration."
The Ombudsman's Rules of Procedure provides that the Ombudsman's decision shall be immediately executory, even pending appeal.
"I don't know what Constitution he (Alvarez) is referring to," Lagman added.
Article VI Section 16 paragraph 3 of the 1987 Constitution states that "each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds of all its Members, suspend or expel a Member."
The said provision is also stated in the Rule XXII of the Rules of House of Representatives, which provides that the House has the power to punish or expel its members upon a vote of three-fourths.
Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin's view, however, differs from that of Lagman.
He believes Garcia is still entitled to legal remedies.
Villarin also noted that there are so many pending cases involving members of the Congress to date.
"May karapatan pa rin yung mga mambabatas kasi alam naman natin that part of the turf ng mga mambabatas e talagang itong mga kaso," he said.
Aside from the dismissal order, the Office of the Ombudsman has perpetually barred Garcia to sit in any position in the government. It has also ordered the forfeiture of her retirement benefits.
Garcia believes the dismissal order against her has something to do with her participation in the ongoing hearings on the impeachment complaint filed against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. (SunStar Philippines)