MANILA, Philippines – Suspended Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia on Thursday denied Sugbo TV and Sugbo News, which were ordered closed by the province's acting governor, were used for campaigning.
Garcia, who remains holed up inside the Cebu Provincial Capitol in defiance of the six-month suspension against her, said the two government-run news agencies have been proven to be beneficial to the tourism industry of Cebu.
"Napaka-unique na cable channel, government-run pero nagiging ano po, very inspirational. Naging reason ito for the Cebuanos to be proud of their own province. Maliban sa nagbo-boost ng tourism, iyung mga tourist hindi na nagko-concentrate sa Metro Cebu, kasi nakikita nila na mayroon pa palang magagadang towns na noon ay 'di kilala," Garcia told dzMM.
"Pati ang Sugbo News, ganoon din po…Ito ay ginagamit na reference materials ng ating mga bata sa Department of Education - kasi nga napaka-puno ng information about our culture, our people. Lahat nagbibigay ng reason for Cebuanos to be proud."
Acting Governor Agnes Almendras Magpale earlier ordered the closure of Sugbo TV and the province's official gazette Sugbo News, citing budget constraints. She also ordered the review of the news agencies' operations.
Magpale said the local government of Cebu spends roughly P1 million a month to maintain the network.
Garcia said she has no problem with Magpale ordering a review of the TV channel and newspaper's operations, but she believes shutting them down is too much.
She also accused the acting governor's people of destroying Sugbo TV's satellite dish.
"Maganda nga ang i-review niya (Magpale) para ma-enlighten siya kasi wala siyang ka-background-background on broadcast and print media. Hindi nga niya alam kung ano ang ibig sabihin ng 30-seconder. Maganda 'yung ma-educate siya tungkol sa power of media in informing, in inspiring the people," she said.
Garcia, who is gunning for a seat in the House of Representatives in 2013, dismissed claims that she used the TV channel for campaigning.
She said being the chief executive of Cebu, it could not be avoided that she becomes featured in some of the channel's shows.
The suspended governor is still awaiting the decision of the appellate court for her petition for a temporary restraining order.
Her suspension order was issued after she was found guilty of committing grave abuse of authority for withholding the funds of the late Vice Governor Gregorio Sanchez Jr.
Garcia has since received the support of United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) coalition leaders Vice President Jejomar Binay, former President Joseph Estrada and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.