Stand on incumbent Governor Comelec ruling contradicts SC
(The Freeman) - January 23, 2013 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The camp of suspended Governor Gwendolyn Garcia says the stand of the Commission on Election (Comelec) to recognize Acting Governor Agnes Magpale as the incumbent governor contradicts with a Supreme Court ruling.

Frasco pointed out that Comelec Resolution 9608 does not define the term incumbent.

Section 4 of the resolution states "incumbent Members of the House of Representatives and Provincial Governors, whether or not running for re-election or for another elective office, whose regular security complement have been provided by Officers or Members of the PNP, AFP, NBI or other Government Law Enforcement Agencies for at least one year at the time of the promulgation of this Resolution, shall be allowed to retain the services of the officers or members of said government agencies."

Frasco said that Garcia has been holding office for two and a half years already in her third term while Magpale only assumed as acting governor for barely a month.

"Misleading kaayo ni on the part of the Comelec law department," Frasco said.

She cited a Supreme Court decision in the case of Nicanor Salaysay vs. Ruiz Castro which states that "when a Vice Mayor acts as Mayor, there is no vacancy in the post of Mayor. There is a regular incumbent Mayor only that the latter is under temporary disability. So, strictly and correctly speaking, the Vice Mayor may not be considered Acting Mayor. He is only acting as Mayor temporarily, provisionally and during the temporary disability of the regular incumbent. He is not the incumbent."

"Let us not take away from Gov. Gwen Garcia her office to which she has been duly elected and to which she should be then the incumbent public official holding the office of governor," Frasco said citing the said SC decision.

Frasco said that the Comelec is prejudging and preempting the decision of the Court of Appeals or of any other higher court to which they may go, should the decision of the CA not in their favor.

Frasco intends to write a letter of clarification to the Comelec pointing out the resolution does not define incumbent and that SC does.

Comelec Law Department recently sent a letter to Comelec Cebu stating that it recognized Magpale as the incumbent governor who will have the privilege to keep security escorts from the police or military despite the start of the election period.

Meanwhile, Frasco yesterday accused the camp of Magpale of having an intent to obstruct justice by preempting the result of the preliminary investigation of the robbery case filed by his brother, Paulo Garcia.

Frasco bared that the office of Magpale forced Oscar dela Calzada, the owner of the tents confiscated by the police, to sign a waiver and quit claim.

Draft copy of the waiver stated that three units of tent that were ordered removed in front of the Capitol building on December 19, 2012 were deposited at the Legislative building for safekeeping purposes.

It also stated that the owner has no more claims against Magpale and the police authorities that removed the tents.

The tents were rented by Paulo for use of the governor's supporters who held a prayer vigil when the suspension order was served.

The owner also intends not to file or participate in any case initiated by anyone against Magpale and police authorities.

Frasco said that Magpale's camp has no business forcing the owner of the property to sign a waiver and quit claim when the case is now with the prosecutor's office and it is tantamount to admission of the commission of the crime.

"For me, this is a brazen and blatant obstruction of justice not an act that you would expect from public officials such as Vice Gov. Magpale and Gen. (Marcelo) Garbo," Frasco said.

Magpale's lawyer, Magnificus Cañete, admitted having drafted the waiver but denied attempt to force dela Calzada to sign it.

Cañete said that it was dela Calzada who suggested to spare him from participating any charges filed in court.

Cañete said he asked dela Calzada to let his lawyer review what has stated in the draft waiver but to their surprise, copy of which reached the Garcias.

"It's not all true nga gipugos nako siya papirma and at the same time di na tinuod nga kining among gibuhat paglubog-lubog sa kaso kay iya manna kagustohan nga dili siya ganahan mo participate sa kaso," Cañete said.

Frasco said they intend to make manifestation to the prosecutor's office on the said act though she claimed it will strengthen their case. — (FREEMAN)

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