MANILA, Philippines -- The suspension of Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia has nothing to do with politics, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas insisted Wednesday.
Roxas defended the Liberal Party (LP) against the allegations of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) that the suspension was politically-motivated and was a power grab by Roxas and the LP.
"Itong mga paratang na tulad niyan ay walang kahulugan at walang saysay dito. Ang isyu ho dito ay may violation po ang gobernador ng Cebu at siya ay mapapatawan ng parusa ayon ho sa nakatakdang proseso," Roxas said on ANC.
Garcia has been suspended for six months for alleged grave abuse of authority.
The suspension order stemmed from a complaint filed in November 2010 by the late Vice Governor Gregorio Sanchez against Garcia for allegedly withholding the budget for his office.
"'Yung budget ng tanggapan ni Vice Governor Sanchez ay tinanggal ng gobernador at nung namatay na nga si Sanchez ay binalik niya dahil at that time siguro kaalyado niya 'yung nakaupo dun. Ito 'yung sinasabi na grave abuse of authority," the DILG secretary said.
He also said Garcia's suspension was not meant to ease out local leaders not allied with the administration.
"'Di tama na dadalhin ito sa kung anong partido ni Governor Garcia dahil incidental po ito. Ang ibig sabihin po ba kung nagkasala ang isang tao na hindi LP ay dapat hindi mapaparusahan?"
"Ang ibig sabihin ba hindi na dapat humakbang ang gobyerno dahil hindi kapartido 'yung mga nagkasala? Hindi naman yata tama ito," Roxas added.
Garcia already stripped of her power
The lawyer of Garcia, meanwhile, insisted that Garcia is still the acting governor of the province since she did not personally receive the suspension order.
However, Roxas said the suspension already took effect Wednesday morning with the service of the order at the governor's office.
"Kinakalungkot ko ito dahil lalo niyang binabaon ang sarili niya sa mga violations. Dahil lawful order ho ito at sumasalim siya sa ating local government code."
"'Yung excuse na sinasabi na 'di siya napagsilbihan ng order ay napakababaw po," he added.
Despite Garcia's refusal to step down from office, she has already been stripped of her power as a governor, Roxas said.
"'Yung kapangyarihan niya mag-issue ng cheke o pumirma sa checke, kapangyarihan niya sa pulis at kapangyarihan niya mag-issue ng order ay wala na sa kanya dahil 'di na kinikilala ito," Roxas said.