MANILA, Philippines - The camp of suspended Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia wants no one else to physically occupy the provincial governor's office at the capitol.
This, as they maintained that she has not abandoned her bid for an injunction against her suspension.
Garcia's lawyers wrote to Cebu police and Capitol officials to make sure no one else but Garcia holds office inside the governor's office.
Noting jurisprudence that the suspension doesn't make officers in charge incumbent officials, the Garcia camp said, “demand is hereby made on you to prevent any person other than the duly elected governor from holding office at the Office of the Governor. “
They said that the legal challenge of Garcia against her suspension by the Office of the President remains pending before the appellate court, allegedly making the padlocking illegal.
"Not having been personally served the suspension order, the same has no legal effect. Since the Court of Appeals has taken cognizance of the issue concerning the illegality of the suspension order and its implementation, the act of padlocking the Office of the Governor is in violation of law, and preempts the court's decision on the case," Garcia's lawyers said.
They said that in preventing Garcia's entry back into her office, she has been virtually removed from office even if the penalty against her is only suspension, and even pending adjudication of her Petition before the Court of Appeals.
Commenting on reports that the Court of Appeals 12th division will no longer issue a TRO because of the supposed abandonment, the supended governor's daughter Cristina Garcia Frasco noted that on January 18, 2013, her mother filed a "Very Urgent Motion Reiterating the Issuance of a TRO and/or Status Quo Ante Order."
"This further contradicts the claim that Governor Garcia has 'abandoned' her TRO. Governor Garcia is clearly at a disadvantage, not being a member of the government's ruling party," she said.
Nevertheless, the apparent setback is not stopping the Garcia camp.
"However, even if the strong arm of government is now being made to bear down upon her, Governor Garcia continues to hope in the rule of law and in the independence of the judiciary, in waging the fight against this great injustice that has befallen Cebu and all Cebuanos," Garcia Frasco said.
She said they have not received a copy of a reported resolution of the appellate court stating that it will no longer rule on the injunction petition. "Before our receipt of any CA Resolution, Governor Garcia filed a Motion to Inhibit Justice Vicente Veloso, Chairman of the 12th Division and ponente of the Petition for Review file by the Governor. “
"The motion to inhibit is grounded on Justice Veloso's demonstrated undue bias, prejudice and partiality when he made sweeping statements against Governor Garcia during the oral arguments on the TRO; (and) there has been inordinate delay in the resolution of the application for TRO," she said.
She claimed that the delay in the resolution of the TRO "is tainted with political bias seeing that Justice Veloso immediately granted a TRO to Liberal Party member Aga Muhlach on the same day as his hearing, while Justice Veloso has delayed and refused to issue a TRO to UNA Party member Governor Garcia."
"Justice Veloso's most recent resolution makes even more evident his bias and prejudice against Governor Garcia, giving Governor Garcia more reason to move for his inhibition," Frasco claimed.