Opinion: Letting go of power

Posted on December 20, 2012

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by Rene Elevera

by Rene Elevera

The attempt to mount a “people power” of sorts in the premises of the Capitol in defense of suspended Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia was a timely exercise of clout but not likely to last.

The massing of hundreds of barangay health workers, hastily brought in by busloads from different Cebu towns to the Capitol social hall , seems a tame version of the outrage reserved for real political ferment.

Beyond one day of a sit-down protest, literally sitting on the marble floor of the social hall while waiting for instructions on what next to do, it would be a stretch of government resources to keep up the demonstration.

Some of the women, when asked what they were doing there, thought they were brought in to collect a Christmas bonus from the province. At least they were fed packed lunches.

Freshly made placards yesterday carried uniform calls against “POLITICAL HARASSMENT”.

The metal guard rails and tents that suddenly appeared outside the Capitol building set the stage for high political drama, but in the end, the momentum will come from suspended Governor Garcia herself, not an uprising of a multitude.

“I shall continue to discharge the functions of the office of Governor of the Province of Cebu until the remedies that due process afford me, and available under our laws, are exhausted,” she announced in a press conference after a six-month suspension order was tacked on her office door.

She had neatly timed her appearance after the DILG regional diretor talked to her on the phone about his assignment to come over and serve the order of the Office of the President.

How long will Garcia draw out the drama?

She’s entitled to put up a fight, but that battle would have to be a legal arena, with petitions filed in court or the DILG or Malacaang – not the streets of Cebu City, where she has no constituents.

The last thing Cebuanos want to see is a catfight in the Capitol with two women issuing orders as governor, forcing employees and the transacting public to choose who to obey.

What would be next? A contest of whose memos would be followed and whose requisition vouchers would be signed for the release of funds?

When the DILG served the suspension order and administered the oath of office to Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale as acting governor, the rule of law operates to ensure continuity of authority, as well as public service.

It’s difficult to let go of power when you feel unjustly treated. That’s probably how the late vice governor Gregorio Sanchez Jr. felt too when his own authority was chipped away with each act of usurpation that crushed his spirit, a memory thatcomes back full force in this unprecedented lesson to beware of doing unto others what you don’t want done onto you.

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