MANILA, Philippines - Hope seems to be dimming for Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia in her bid for temporary relief from the Court of Appeals (CA) against her suspension.
Over a month since she filed her petition, the 12th division of the appellate court still has not ruled on her prayer for a temporary restraining order (TRO) that would enable her to regain control of the capitol.
In a two-page resolution, the CA moved to further take time in resolving her TRO plea, filed on Dec. 21, after dismissing the bid of the government to submit more documents to further justify Garcia’s suspension.
“The motion of counsel for the respondents for three days within which to submit a memorandum of authorities is denied,” read the ruling written by Associate Justice Vicente Veloso.
Instead, the CA said it would start to resolve the prayer for the halt order.
“There being nothing to discuss and to argue on said incident, the same is hereby deemed submitted for resolution,” it added.
An insider, however, told The STAR the justices would most likely no longer rule on the TRO prayer and instead directly resolve the merits of the case.
The source, who refused to be named due to the sub judice rule, said the tenor of the justices in the division handling the case during oral
argument earlier this month was to bring the case to the Supreme Court.
Garcia alleged that the Palace violated Section 66 of the Local Government Code, which states that the Office of the President must release a decision 30 days after the investigation.
She recalled that the investigation into the complaint filed in 2010 by then vice governor Gregorio Sanchez Jr. for supposed withholding of his office’s budget had terminated last Aug. 31.
This meant the Palace should have come up with its decision last Sept. 30 to comply with the rule, but the suspension order was handed down only last Dec. 17 or about two-and-a-half months after the deadline.
The governor’s camp stressed that the Office of the President violated its own Administrative Order 23, which also provides for 30 days to decide on cases upon transmittal of the records from the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
The records of the case were reportedly forwarded to the OP last July 26. The decision should have been issued 30 days after, but it came out last Dec. 17 or 144 days later.
The Office of the Solicitor General had opposed Garcia’s plea for TRO.
It argued that the Palace and DILG did not violate any law in issuing and serving the suspension order last month.
It argued that the decision of the OP in administrative cases is final and executory and an appeal does not prevent the decision from becoming final and executory.
Garcia, who had been staying in the capitol for 42 days after her suspension order was served, was locked out of her office last Wednesday.
Acting Cebu Gov. Agnes Magpale ordered the closure of all entrances to the Office of the Governor as Garcia went out of her office to attend to engagements in the towns of Oslob, Alcoy and Dalaguete.
She was joined by her father, Deputy Speaker Pablo Garcia, brothers Rep. Pablo John and Byron, son Paolo and wife Michelle, and other local government officials.
Garcia told the crowd in the places she visited that she was disappointed with how the CA has been handling her TRO appeal. – With Garry Lao/The Freeman