Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Deputy House Speaker Gwendolyn Garcia Dismissed from Government Service by Ombudsman

Wazzup Pilipinas!

"Perpetual disqualification from holding public office, cancellation of eligibility and forfeiture of retirement benefits--for people like Gwen Garcia, clinging to this administration is a life-or-death situation."

One less corrupt individual in government is always a welcome development. However, when the government itself protects their allies from getting their just deserved disciplinary action, you lose faith in ever getting justice and fairness in this country.

"Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has ordered the dismissal of House Deputy Speaker Gwendolyn Garcia from service over her questionable purchase of a P98.9-million Balili property when she was the governor of Cebu.

The Ombudsman suspended the Cebu third district representative for grave misconduct when it found that she had no authority from the Sanguniang Panlalawigan (SP) to enter into contracts with ABF construction firm. 

In June 2008, Garcia purchased the controversial Balili property, a 249,246 square meter lot in Tinaan, Naga, Cebu, for P98,926,800. Local authorities later discovered that 196,696 square meters of the property were underwater and part of a mangrove area.

The Office of the Ombudsman has directed Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to implement the dismissal order, which carries the accessory penalties of perpetual disqualification from holding public office, cancellation of eligibility, and forfeiture of retirement benefits."

The Ombudsman order states Cebu Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia is perpetually disqualified from holding public office, her eligibility to hold such office cancelled, and her retirement benefits forfeited.

"The timing of the OMBUDSMAN’s Resolution to dismiss me from service is highly suspicious, and amounts to a blatant attempt to strong arm me into helping her escape impeachment by the House of Representatives.

Considering that I have been vigorously and actively involved in the dispatch of impeachment complaints such as the one against Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno, it is no surprise that Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, who now faces an impeachment complaint against her, would want to have the impeachment complaint dismissed by strong arming key members of Congress such as myself. My dismissal from service at her hands makes her motivation far too obvious.

I have not even received a copy of the Resolution nor had the opportunity to file a reconsideration. 

I note that the complaint in this case was filed by now Governor Hilario Davide at the height of the 2013 elections in an attempt to suspend me and influence the elections.
I certainly hope that the Ombudsman will act on my complaint regarding Davide's criminal neglect of the CICC with the same vigor and haste, and that the public would see through the OMBUDSMAN’s blatant abuse of power to shield herself from being impeached and held accountable for her own questionable actions."

Garcia misused 100 million during her term as governor of Cebu. She wasn't charged yet during that term. Then she was re-elected as governor. Her re-election should not clear her of the misdeeds just because people voted for her again.

This seemed to be the best news of the day. When leaders think of themselves as invincible, they set aside laws and go about doing things their way. But if history has taught us anything about politics, it is this: no one is invincible, tyrants fall, and dynasties crumble. Thank you, Lady Justice!

However, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Malacanang Palace backs Garcia, saying only the House of Representatives can suspend or remove members. Presidentiall spokesperson Harry Roque also echoes Garcia's statement questioning the timing of the OMB decision to remove her from office.

"This is definitely an ombudsman overreach. Her decision should have been handed down while Garcia was still governor 10 years ago, so she could defend herself at the right platform. The decision to dismiss now is highly suspect and extremely political in nature."

But we all know how slow the justice system in the Philippines is. It should not be a surprise. The Order is not unconstitutional. But it is in fact the House or the Senate, by a two thirds majority, that will have to vote to expel or suspend a member. Even when a member is convicted and in jail, that representative or senator would still remain as such until their chamber voted him or her out.

We also do not agree with Pantaleon's reasoning. Sorry, I just can't take the logic of this guy whose supposed to be 4th in command of the country. Is he saying that accountability is limited to the position which the offense was committed? 

Accountability stretches across the entire persona of the supposed "PUBLIC" Official whose individuality is cladded by an office that relies upon a PUBLIC TRUST. This man is acting so powerful as if he is right at the pedestal far higher than the law. Shame!

Article XI of the Constitution, however, specifies under Accountability of Public Officers, that the Ombudsman may: "Direct the officer concerned to take appropriate action against a public official or employee at fault, and recommend his removal, suspension, demotion, fine, censure, or prosecution, and ensure compliance therewith."

Apparently, the #imbecile Speaker cannot read. Neither can the Senate. 

The culture of impunity and corruption is alive and well, and abetted by the silence.

The law is only as useful as the fool who argues the wordings to protect his selfish interests. It is to this that we fall pray to those in power. Yes we are truly living in a society "led" by bullies.

Someone please tell Alvarez that the Constitution is called SALIGANG-BATAS in Filipino because that's what it is: the BASIS for the laws of the land. The Ombudsman said Rep. Gwen Garcia violated the Administrative Code and the Government Auditing Code, which ban entering into a contract unless a certification of appropriation and fund availability for the expenditure is issued.

I've never heard of anyone, least of all a lawyer, look for a SPECIFIC law in any Constitution that may have been violated by a public official, WHEN there are EXISTING laws stipulating violations and penalties for such violations.

Do we deserve this corrosive politician from Mindanao? I think he is the worst speaker in the history of the House of Representative. Politicians like Alvarez are perpetually eroding the legitimacy of the HOR as a lawmaking body in the country.

Congress is obviously protecting its own kind and has not shown moral courage to implement judicial orders to their own members. Congress craft laws and expect  ordinary citizens to follow them. Clearly  the refusal to effect Garcia’s suspension order is a case of double standards. It is anti-people and anti God.

Do we still need Congress to write more laws when these demi-gods cannot even follow God’s 10 Commandments?

This makes me think that all or almost all politicians who supports Duterte has a history of corruption. They know that they wouldn't be dismissed or go to jail if they band together. 

No one should really believe that anti-corruption stance of the President. It was all rhetoric to get votes. Just look at GMA.

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