MANILA - Cebu Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia on Thursday said the Ombudsman's dismissal order against her came amid a clamor for her to run as governor of her home province.
Speaking to ANC, Garcia said Cebuanos want her to run as governor again as the province's ranking in the most competitive provinces slid under incumbent Governor Hilario Davide III.
"They are looking at me as the strongest candidate for governor. At first I didn't believe them. I really had no wish to run for governor because I still have 1 term," she said Thursday.
But because of the Ombudsman's dismissal order, Garcia said she cannot run in 2019 unless the Court of Appeals takes action on the decision.
"Kahit hindi kasama yung penalty of perpetual disqualification from holding public office in the Ombudsman law, sinali niya iyon. What does it mean? Unless and until there's action from the CA, that means I cannot run," she noted.
In an earlier interview with a local radio station, Garcia said she is considering running as Cebu governor, a position she once held, in the 2019 midterm elections.
Asked if she thinks there is collusion in the dismissal order, Garcia said: "That's for the people to decide. I'm just saying the facts and the surrounding circumstances."
The lawmaker said she will challenge the dismissal order in the proper forum. She also said perpetual disqualification is not included in the penalties that may be imposed by the Ombudsman.
The dismissal order stemmed from Garcia's approval of the purchase of the P98.9-million Balili property in Naga City in 2008, much of which was later found to be underwater.