MANILA, Philippines - The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) on Friday accused Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas and the Liberal Party (LP) of escalating tension in Cebu where Governor Gwendolyn Garcia is battling a six-month suspension order from Malacañang.
Garcia has remained inside the Cebu Provincial Capitol building despite the suspension order served at her office Wednesday morning.
Authorities have already started guarding the entire Capitol compound after tension broke out between Garcia's supporters and police officers.
"Right now, the DILG and the LP are escalating tension at the provincial capitol by dispersing her supporters and turning the grounds into a garrison," UNA Secretary General Toby Tiangco said in a statement.
"We appeal to the DILG and the LP not to use force and allow Governor Garcia the opportunity to seek legal redress," he added.
Tiangco said this also happened when former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued a suspension order against former Makati Mayor and now Vice President Jejomar Binay in 2006.
Binay fought the suspension order and went to the Court of Appeals (CA) which ordered the lifting of the order a few days later.
Garcia said on Friday morning she has already filed a petition for temporary restraining order before the CA.
She said the order violated a provision of the Local Government Code giving the President 30 days after the end of the investigation to issue an order.
The findings on the case filed by the late Vice Governor Gregorio Sanchez Jr. against Garcia for allegedly withholding budget for his office were submitted to the Office of the President by the late DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo in July 2012.
The suspension order, however, was only signed last December 17.
UNA earlier said the suspension was a "power grab" by Roxas and LP, and was meant to ease out local leaders not allied with the administration.
Cebu Vice Governor Agnes Magpale, the running mate of the LP gubernatorial bet, is expected to take over Garcia's seat.
LP, meanwhile, insisted the suspension had nothing to do with politics.
"The law applies to everybody and to immediately accuse the President of playing politics reeks of the kind of wangwang mentality that was blatantly displayed in the days of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo," the ruling party said.