UNA slams ex-Arroyo defenders in Liberal Party
MANILA, Philippines - The administration Liberal Party (LP) cannot just invoke “respect for the rule of law” when the suspension order against Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia is clearly “harassment,” United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) secretary-general Toby Tiangco said on Wednesday.
Tiangco said no less than the people of Cebu know that martial law is already being implemented there.
“Harassment is harassment. You cannot invoke ‘respect for the rule of law’ and ‘daang matuwid’ to justify a patently illegal act and the abuse of power. Those who are now invoking the rule of law and the righteous path should first examine their tainted political and moral backgrounds to avoid embarrassing themselves and their new masters,” he added.
Tiangco is referring to a statement by one of the spokesmen of LP, Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, who lambasted the UNA leaders for supposedly indulging the actions of Garcia amid a suspension order.
Garcia remains at the capitol and spent Christmas there.
Tiangco lambasted Evardone for now talking about “rule of law” which, he said, was ironic since the Eastern Samar lawmaker once defended former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo despite the alleged abuses of her regime.
He said Evardone’s use of the words such as “letting the legal process prevail” are the same he and other former Arroyo “defenders used to justify the harassment of the opposition led by Vice President Binay in 2006 and 2007.”
Binay held his fort at the Makati city hall in 2006 after being served a suspension order by Malacanang for supposedly paying for the wages of ghost employees.
“Like other Arroyo defenders who shifted loyalties en masse to the ruling party, the LP spokesman is recycling the same excuses meant to justify political harassment,” Tiangco said.
No matter what the LP or its "apologists” say, Martial Law is already being implemented in Cebu, he added.
“For UNA, respect for the rule of law also means extending courtesy to a co-equal branch of government. Since a case has already been filed before the Court of Appeals, the administration party should allow the courts to decide,” Tiangco said.
Garcia has already sought for a halt order with the appellate court, but the latter still has to act on it.
“In the case of Governor Garcia, there are glaring violations of the law and clear abuse of power. The LP-affiliated vice governor closed down two media outlets on flimsy grounds. The police erected barricades and deployed armalite-wielding policemen to the capitol. Supporters of the Governor and even employees were prevented from entering the grounds,” he said.
Tiangco also defended the presence of the UNA stalwarts in Cebu on Sunday, saying nothing is controversial there.
“It cannot be compared to DILG Secretary Mar Roxas attempting to influence the Sandiganbayan when he accompanied his party mate Grace Padaca when she posted bail for a graft case,” he said.
Tiangco said LP should not claim that the cases of its own party members, such as that of Caloocan Mayor Recom Echeverri, are similar to Garcia’s.
“His suspension was not effectively served and his followers were allowed to camp out in front of City Hall with the least intervention from the police. We did not hear the LP or the administration asking him to follow the suspension order while waiting for the Court of Appeals to decide,” Tiangco said of Echeverri's case.
Tiangco also slammed the statements of the gubernatorial candidate of LP in Cebu, who claimed that the people will render the ultimate judgment in 2013. He is referring to Hilario Davide III, who will be running after Garcia’s brother.
“This is precisely our point and this is what makes the suspension order nothing more than a power grab by the LP, a desperate and blatant attempt to overturn the decision of the people of Cebu in the 2010 elections,” Tiangco said.