MANILA, DECEMBER 31, 2012 (PHILSTAR) Malacañang has downplayed the robbery complaint filed against Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II and some police officials by the son of suspended Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, saying it will not prosper.

“Everyone knows that a criminal offense is committed personally. Unless they have proof that Secretary Mar was present in Cebu and stole those tents, I doubt if the case will prosper,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.

In a three-page complaint, Pablo Garcia III said Roxas and Director Marcelo Garbo of Police Regional Office, Regional Public Safety Battalion commanding officer Superintendent Leopoldo Cabanag and Inspector Alvino Enguito of RPSB-Central Visayas have refused to return three tents used for a vigil at the capitol in support of the suspended governor.

Meanwhile, Philippine National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima said he is ready to order the eviction of Garcia from the capitol once he receives an order from the province’s officer-in-charge.

“Our job is to maintain peace and order in the area,” Purisima told The STAR.

However, Purisima said eviction might not be necessary unless there is disruption of government service.

Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 Lacierda said the suspension order against the Cebu governor followed due process and was not a form of harassment, contrary to the claim of former President Joseph Estrada.

Estrada was quoted as saying it was “un-Christian” for the Aquino administration to suspend Garcia this Christmas season.

But Lacierda said the timing of the enforcement of the suspension order was coincidental.

“The typical or the conventional framing of the opposition is that this is harassment. There is no harassment. Let us remember that there was an administrative complaint filed against the governor. The decision was issued and the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) only implemented it. It so happened that it was implemented near the holiday season,” Lacierda said.

“With due respect also to Vice President Jejomar Binay, who advised Garcia to stay in the capitol, we have always mentioned that we encourage Governor Gwen Garcia to follow the rule of law,” he said.

Lacierda said the suspension order should have been respected, considering that the Court of Appeals did not issue a temporary restraining order (TRO).

On the claim of the United Nationalist Alliance that the administration gives special treatment to its allies, as with the case of former Isabela governor Grace Padaca, Lacierda said it was a decision of the Sandiganbayan not to arrest her.

“Before she was appointed as Comelec commissioner, she had a bag on standby. She was prepared to be arrested anytime…For one reason or another, we don’t know why the Sandiganbayan did not implement the arrest order,” he said. In the case of Caloocan City Mayor Enrico Echiverri, Lacierda said a TRO was issued on the six-month suspension order by the DILG. – With Delon Porcalla, Paolo Romero, Teodoro Molina

Speaker Belmonte on Cebu governor’s suspension: Not political at all By Leila B. Salaverria Philippine Daily Inquirer

[PHOTO -Speaker Feliciano Belmonte ARNOLD ALMACEN]

MANILA, Philippines — Speaker Feliciano Belmonte said on Thursday the suspension of Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia for usurpation of authority was just a simple administrative case, but some people are putting political color into the matter.

Belmonte, the ruling Liberal Party’s vice-chair, said the service of the six-month suspension order was just the “course of justice” taking place.

Garcia, a member of the United Nationalist Alliance, has defied the suspension order by holing up in the provincial capitol and seeking a temporary restraining order from the Court of Appeals.

Her supporters have contended that the move against her was just political harassment because she is from UNA. Garcia’s brother Pablo John Garcia is running to replace his sister for governor against the LP bet Hilario Davide III. UNA officials Vice President Jejomar Binay, former President Joseph Estrada, and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile have also visited her to lend her their support.

But according to Belmonte, the matter is not political in the first place.

“I think they’re trying to inject politics into it. It’s a simple administrative case and I don’t think anybody is being harassed by the LP,” he told reporters in an ambush interview.

He said President Aquino was just trying to enforce a decision, and has left the matter in the hands of the appropriate authorities.

The Palace ordered Garcia’s six-month suspension for allegedly usurping the authority of her vice governor to hire contractual employees and consultants. Garcia has since filed a petition to stop the implementation of the directive.

Garcia’s suspension came after Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino was accused of receiving payoffs from the illegal numbers game jueteng. The Department of Interior and Local Government, headed by LP stalwart Mar Roxas, has since ordered Espino’s investigation.

Espino’s party, the Nationalist People’s Coalition, dubbed the move as political harassment. Espino is seeking another term as governor against the LP’s bet Hernani Braganza.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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