MANILA, Philippines – The Liberal Party (LP) responded to accusations by the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) that politics is behind the 6-month suspension of Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia.
According to Liberal Party Secretary General and Samar 1st District Representative Mel Sarmiento, there is no way that the party was involved in the issue, saying that the administrative sanction meted out to her by Malacañang was a product of due process.
"Huwag namang isama ang pulitika sa isyung administratibo at ligal na aspeto," Sarmiento said.
The suspension happened weeks after another UNA member, Pangasinan Governor Amado Espino, was accused by a whistleblower of being involved in jueteng in the province.
Sarmiento clarified that the investigation started even during the time of the late Interior and Local Secretary Jesse Robredo.
“It's quite unfortunate that in our country there is always an election every three years. Kaya sa gusto o sa hindi, sasabihin na ito ay politically-motivated.
If you do this right after the election, sasabihin na this is retaliation because of what happened in the election," he said.
Sarmiento added UNA members are not the only ones in hot water since there are also Liberal Party members who have faced administrative sanctions, like Mayor Samuel Co, who is being linked to the Aman Futures scam, and Caloocan Mayor Recom Echeverri.
He said that the LP did not do anything to influence these investigations.
Earlier, UNA accused Sec Mar Roxas of trying to weaken the hold of their party in provinces which are considered “vote rich” for the coming 2013 elections.
Sarmiento said that this is just coincidental.
"Ano ba talaga ang issue rito? Kung ito po ay ginawa nang wala man lang prosesong pinagdaanan, pwede po nating sabihin na pag-abuso na ito...
pero tignan po natin ang proseso at merito," Sarmieto said.
He added that the LP bets in both Pangasinan (Mayor Hernani Braganza) and Cebu (Hilario Davide III) both have good fighting chances in the elections even without the suspension of their rival incumbents.