by Marian Z. Codilla, Senior Reporter
Over a thousand people mass outside the provincial Capitol to show their support to the suspended Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia.
The crowd mostly members of organized groups from different towns and in the province and Cebu City converged at the Fuente Osmeña Circle where a mass officiated by Fr. Dennis Boltron.
After the mass, the people went to the Capitol in what organizers dubbed as the Solidarity Mass for Freedom.
Police exercised maximum tolerance, but were prepared to deal with any forms of violence.
According to Supt. Leopoldo Cabanag, commanding officer of the Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB) said they have prepared for the rally since rumors about it had started spreading last week.
In consonance with the police rules of engagement, police crowd control members were not carrying firearms.
Police Regional Office chief Marcelo Garbo said they are only implementing maximum tolerance.
The supporters were welcomed by eldest daughter of governor Garcia, Christina Frasco, husband Lilo-an Mayor Duke Frasco and 3rd Dist. Rep. Pablo John Garcia.
Pablo John Garcia thanks the people who came to show their support to his sister, who according to him was illegally removed from office by means of illegal suspension.
“Buot nila sakmiton ang gahom na gihatag sa katawhan sa Sugbo kay Gov. Gwen Garcia kay kabaw sila na kung eleksyonon dili gyud sila kadaog mao gipaagi nila og suspension order (They want to take away the mandate the people of Cebu given to Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia because they know they will never win in any election that is why they came up with a suspension order),” Pablo Garcia told the crowd.
He said the governor was suspended not because she is involved in any illegal activites such as illegal gambling and drugs but because she was just implementing a budget appropriation passed by the provincial board which Magpale, who was then a PB member prior to assuming the functions of the late vice governor Greg Sanchez.
Sanchez filed an administrative complaint against Garcia for usurpation of authority.
Pablo John Garcia, who running for governor told the crowd that because of the support shown by the people, the governor has gained enough courage not to easily step down from office.
“Tungod sa inyong presensya, sa pagtambong ning atong kalihukan karun, nakaangkong og dugang na kalig-on na dili gyud siya mukanaog kay usa ra ang gobernador sa Sugbo (Because of your presence and for attending today’s activity, the governor has gained enough courage not to step down as governor of Cebu),” Pablo John told the crowd who cheered after the speech.
The supporters were carrying placards that read: LP stop harassment; Stop Mar-tial Law; Padayon Gwen; We Support Gwen; Do your worst and I’ll do my best.
As the supporters started to fill the junction in Escario Street and Osmeña Boulevard, Gov. Garcia waved from the balcony of the provincial capitol where she had been holed since Dec. 18.
She was flanked by her father Deputy Speaker of the House and Cebu 2nd district Rep. Pablo Garcia and mother Esperanza, a retired judge.
She later went down from the governor’s office.
Cheers erupted after the suspended governor told the crowd that she will face her battle for the people of Cebu.
“Atubangon kini tanan, tungod og alang kaninyo Sugbo ubos sa pangaliya ni Senyor Santo Niño og ubos sa pangaliya ni San Pedro Calungsod. Magkahi-usa kita mga Sugbo-anon sa lalawigan og sa dakbayan. Magkahiusa kita ning atong tinguha nga ang kamatuoran og hustisya ibalik dinhi sa Sugbo,” the governor said.
After her speech, the governor and her family went back to the governor’s office while people were fed with bread.