VICE President Jejomar Binay vowed to return to Cebu to help Gov. Gwen Garcia fight moves to remove her from office.
“Pagka-sususpindihin si Gov. Garcia, sinisiguro ko po sa inyo, ako mismo sasama ako sa inyo rito sa pagkontra (I will be with you in supporting Garcia),” Binay told a crowd in Liloan, Cebu last 21.
“I thanked VP Binay, he is focused on this particular case,” Garcia said yesterday.
Garcia was charged with two counts of graft and technical malversation before the Sandiganbayan for the purchase of P98.9-million Balili lot in Tinaan, City of Naga, in 2008.
About 196,696 square meters of the lot are submerged in seawater, according to the case forwarded to the anti-graft court.
Former Provincial Board member Juan Bolo and six others face one charge each.
Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Pelagio Apostol said suspension follows the arraignment of the case.
In a press conference yesterday, Archbishop Emeritus of Cebu Ricardo Cardinal Vidal advised Garcia to let the wheels of justice turn and “let the truth come out.”
“Let the truth come out. If it is a false accusation it will just fall down,” Cardinal Vidal told reporters.
Garcia welcomed Vidal’s advice.
“The cardinal has always been a man of truth. Indeed I have always subscribed to the saying that the truth will set us free and so I welcome the statement of the cardinal that the truth will always come out. All falsehoods will eventually be swept away,” she said.
On the plan of Garcia to run for senator, Vidal said he already told Garcia his opinion in an earlier meeting.
He said the work for a national position may be a difficult process for her.
“(I told her) if it’s a nationwide office, you should remember you are not so well known,” said Vidal.
“(I told her to take it) step by step, slowly then perhaps you can be more popular.
For now you are only popular in the province,” he recalled telling Garcia.
Capitol consultant Rory Jon Sepulveda said he sees a pattern in chief executives being suspended prior to an election.
He cited Binay, when he was still Makati City mayor, and former Iloilo governor Niel Tupas Sr., as examples.
Binay, leader of the United Nationalist Alliance, went with the governor to Naga City and Liloan, a day after attending Garcia’s State of the Province Address (Sopa) last July 20.
“Milyon ang bumoto para kay Gov. Garcia. Hindi pwedeng suspindihin ng paganyan-ganyan lamang (Garcia can’t be removed from office just like that),” he told the crowd.
He said former president Joseph Estrada and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile also promised to return here and defend the governor.
“Makikita po nyo kaming tatlo, darating po kami, aalalay kami sa pakikibaka at lalabanan natin ang maling ginagawa (The three of us will be here to support Garcia),” he said.
Binay recalled the time when he was also given a suspension order.
“Ginawa sa akin po yan. Napakasakit pero magandang hamon (They did that to me. It was painful. But I considered it a challenge),” said Binay.
On the day Binay was in Liloan, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse Robredo was also in Cebu. And this surprised Binay as a reporter, not from Sun.Star, asked him if the secretary was doing a follow-up on the status of the governor’s case.
When asked if Robredo was in Cebu to follow up on Garcia’s case, Binay said, “Talagang tino-totoo nila. Hindi naman yata tama yun (They are really serious about it. That’s not right).”
DILG 7 Director Annanias Villacorta confirmed Robredo’s visit to Cebu. He said it was not to follow up a case but to be a forum speaker in an event initiated by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma.