MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino said there is no politics involved in the decision to suspend Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia and file charges against Pangasinan Governor Amado Espino over jueteng.
Aquino said the complaint against Garcia underwent the process and that there was basis for it, effectively denying allegations that the Palace is easing out local officials who are not allied with the administration in preparation for the elections.
“It has clearly been established na nung namatay ‘yung Vice Governor na hindi po nila ally, ‘yung binawasan na budget binalik sa dating number. So talagang sinadya na binawasan ‘yung budget para doon sa panahon ni Vice Governor. Tinanggal ‘yung kapangyarihan niyang i-appoint ‘yung mga empleyado ng Sangguniang Panlalawigan na clearly nasasaklaw ng Vice Governor being the head of legislature of [the provincial government],” Aquino told reporters.
“Napaka-klaro ng ebidensya, facts, pati na ‘yung testimonya nung pati ng kaalyado ni Governor Garcia. So there was a violation of the pertinent rules and regulations and there is a corresponding penalty. We are blind as to party affiliation. ‘Yung reverse is to do nothing and to be accused of not fulfilling our oath to faithfully execute all laws of the land,” he added.
Aquino said he has not discussed the issue with Vice President Jejomar Binay, an ally of Garcia, the last time they met during the Rizal Day rite.
In the case of Espino, Aquino said it is the government’s duty to look into the allegations and not ignore them until after the elections.
“Pwede bang may nag-akusa na naman, serious, may mga pruwebang pinapakita, accounts, etcetera, pwede bang hindi namin pansinin at palagpasin ang eleksyon? Palagay ko kami naman ang makakasuhan na hindi namin ginawa ang trabaho namin na i-execute ang batas,” he said.
Meantime, Aquino said he has been in talks with party leaders and coalition partners about the nitty-gritty of the campaign for the upcoming mid-term elections.
“We are mapping out all the details, branding, themes, sorti[es], all those details. I’m talking to syempre the leadership of the parties concerned but more specifically, the LP, to advance the cause of our candidates,” he said.