MANILA, Philippines – Cebu Vice Governor Agnes Magpale said on Thursday that she does not consider the situation in Cebu as a “power struggle” between her and suspended Governor Gwendolyn Garcia.
Magpale said she is serving as acting governor because of her mandate, and she had nothing to do with the suspension order.
“This is not a power struggle, I’m here because of my mandate, by law of succession I should be acting governor,” she told ANC’s “The Bureau”.
Magpale took her oath as acting governor of Cebu on Wednesday after Garcia was suspended by Malacañang over an administrative case filed against her 2 years ago.
However, Garcia refused to step down from office, saying the order was “illegal.”
But Magpale said some department heads in the province have already acknowledged her legitimacy as acting governor.
“I think we are getting some progress. Just this afternoon, while this one particular department head was with her, he actually sent some papers to be signed by me, like a purchase request for rice in the amount of P103,000. If he refuses to recognize me as the legitimate, acting governor then why did he send me the papers to be signed?” she said.
Magpale said the Philippine National Police regional director also made a courtesy call to her office Thursday morning.
“I’m here to fill that vacuum and kung mayroon silang makuha na TRO [temporary restraining order], I am willing to step down but in the meantime, sino ang magpapatakbo ng provincial government. Kagaya ngayon, ang daming papers to be signed. The suppliers are now sending their papers to my office. This morning, the PNP regional director made a courtesy call to my office acknowledging that I am the legitimate, acting governor,” she said.
Support from Cebuanos
Garcia said on Wednesday that the suspension came as a surprise not only to her, but to millions of Cebuanos who voted her into office.
Garcia claimed that she has the full support of her constituents, adding that several of her supporters have camped outside her office.
However, Magpale disputed this on Thursday, alleging that some of those in the crowd were not even aware of the governor’s suspension.
“Marami pa nga akong pinakain na supposedly supporters nila. Pumunta sila sa office at nanghingi ng pagkain, they did not know where to go. We even gave money para makauwi sila. ‘Yan ba ang 100% na supporters niya na hinakot nila?” she said.
She claimed the crowd was “misled” and that some were not even from Cebu.
She added that she has invited the provincial treasurer to her office, but he has yet to respond.
Garcia's suspension stemmed from a complaint filed by the late Vice Governor Gregorio Sanchez Jr., accusing the governor of withholding funds for his office.
Garcia said she plans to question the suspension before the appellate court.