Rama’s request to have Gwen suspended denied

Governor Gwen Garcia and Cebu City Mike Rama.
Governor Gwen Garcia and Cebu City Mike Rama. File photos

THE Office of the President (OP) has denied the request of Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, who is serving a six-month preventive suspension order, to suspend Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia for “lack of merit.”

“The prayer for the issuance of a preventive suspension order is hereby denied for lack of merit,” the order read.

On March 20, 2024, Rama filed a complaint before the Office of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. against Garcia for “meddling” in the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) project, a mass transportation system project being implemented in Cebu City.

Rama filed an administrative case against the governor on the grounds of abuse of authority as per Section 1(e) of Administrative Order (AO) 23, s. 1992, oppression and grave misconduct as per Section 1(c) of AO 23, s. 1992, along with conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees and the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act under Section 1(h) of AO 23, s. 1992.

The administrative case stemmed from Garcia’s issuance last Feb. 27 of a cease and desist order, through Memorandum. 16-2024, directed at Hunan Road and Bridge Construction Group Co. Ltd., regarding construction activities on Province-owned lots on Osmeña Blvd. associated with the CBRT project.

Garcia cited the project’s potential violation against the Philippine Heritage Law for appearing to be located within the buffer zones of heritage zones.

Citing the “social disturbance, economic loss and political turmoil brought about by Governor Garcia,” Rama asked the President to “discipline and suspend Governor Garcia for incurring the legal violations” laid down in his complaint.

However, the OP found the allegations as insufficient to warrant the issuance of preventive suspension against Garcia after its preliminary evaluation.

In a phone interview on Sunday, June 9, 2024, Rama said he has not received a copy of the document. That’s why he doesn’t know why the OP denied his request.

“I have not received a copy... wa ko kadawat sa kopya kung unsay rason nila...kinahanglan ta naay kopya ana,” Rama said.

(I need to have a copy of the document to determine why my request was denied.)

Rama said he wants his lawyers to address the matter.

Asked how he feels about the development, he said he does not need to say anything.

“I don’t want to say anymore. I don’t want to be adding, but first I have to discuss it with my lawyers,” Rama said.

Hunan Road and Bridge Construction Group Co. Ltd. is implementing the first package of the CBRT, which covers a distance of 2.38 kilometers from the Cebu South Bus Terminal along N. Bacalso Ave. to the front of the Capitol building along Osmeña Blvd.

The CBRT is a P28.78 billion project covering a total of 13.18 kilometers from the South Road Properties in Cebu City’s south to the Cebu I.T. Park in the city’s north intended to decongest traffic and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to the complaint. / AML

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