MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang asked Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia to follow President Aquino's suspension order pending any restraining order from the courts.
"Until such time that it is handed down then we appeal that the decision be respected and the suspension be followed," Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said.
The Palace hopes that the provincial government's services to the people will not be disrupted.
The Palace called for calm amid a reported defiance of the suspension order. Valte does not see Garcia being bodily removed from the Capitol.
"That will not necessarily end in something like that. We are all reasonable people and this can be done in the proper way," she said.
Valte disputed accusations that the Palace is easing out local leaders not allied with the administration, saying it has meted out action against officials who are partymates of the President.
She cited the governor of Kalinga who was suspended after assaulting a radio announcer and Pagadian Mayor Samuel Co who is facing charges over the Aman Futures investment scam.
Valte said she could not confirm if there is indeed a governor and a mayor being investigated by the Office of the President, saying disciplinary proceedings are confidential until a decision has been published.
Asked why the order was implemented only now when the late Secretary Robredo has issued a recommendation as early as July, Valte said: "You know that is a double-edged sword. If you release it a month later, they will say that the resolution or the penalty was railroaded. If you release it sometime after, they will say that the timing is… suspect. Whatever we say will not really make any matter to the people who are saying this. At the very least, the process has been followed."
Valte said Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras has no role in the crafting of the decision of the Office of the President.