Palace backs Magpale decision to lock out Garcia

By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 31 2013 03:21 PM | Updated as of Feb 01 2013 12:27 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Palace backs the decision of Acting Cebu Governor Agnes Magpale to padlock the office of suspended Governor Gwen Garcia.

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Magpale is “fully empowered” as acting governor and that there is no TRO issued on the suspension order.

“Governor Magpale has decided that for the betterment of the Cebu provincial capitol whose office of the governor is being turned into a laundry area, according to Governor Magpale, she deemed it best that since former Governor Garcia left the office—I understand stealthily or surreptitiously—it was deemed by Acting Governor Magpale best to just close down the office. We were informed after the fact," he said.

Lacierda said the issue is now entirely a “legal case.” The Palace is confident that the suspension order “will stand legal scrutiny.”

Magpale ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to padlock Garcia's office at the capitol at around 2 p.m. Wednesday while the suspended governor was away.

Garcia left the provincial capitol Tuesday night and reportedly spent the night in her house.

She then attended an inauguration of a training center in Oslob town, which is about 100 kilometers away from Cebu City.

"Actually I've been tolerating her presence there for the past one month and 11 days. Eh sobra na po ang ginagawa niya," Magpale told ANC.

"Lalabas siya, mangangampanya. Tapos babalik siya dito. Ginawa na niyang parang hotel ang capitol building," she added.

Magpale said even Garcia's supporters stayed inside the capitol.

"'Yun ngang adjacent offices that used to be the old session hall in-occupy ng kanyang mga supporters, dun natutulog, naglalaba na sila dun," she said.

Garcia had been holed up in her office since the Palace ordered her suspension December last year.