Acting Cebu Gov. Agnes Magpale said she is open to a dialogue with Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, archbishop emeritus of Cebu, who earlier expressed willingness to mediate between her and suspended governor Gwen Garcia if both parties ask him.
“You know I’m just doing my job. I have nothing to do with this case. It just so happens that I was the vice governor. I have no problem. If the cardinal wants to talk to me, I will listen,” Magpale said.
She said she has yet to talk with Vidal about the conflict at the Capitol or with Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma who has visited Garcia twice in her office since the standoff started on Dec. 19.
The nature of Palma’s conversation with Garcia has remained confidential.
“I’m sure they are all praying for her (Garcia), for enlightenment,” Magpale said.
Meanwhile, the suspended governor, who has been holed up in her Capitol office for 16 days, also thanked Cardinal Vidal for offering his services as reported in the media.
Both women stopped short, however, of saying they want Vidal to be a channel for dialog or mediation.
“We thank the good cardinal. He is a man of peace in the same way, that we ourselves are peacefully seeking redress through legal avenues. Kung makit-an nimo, dili man kami naggubot-gubot dinhi,” Garcia said. (You can see we are not the ones creating trouble here.)
She said her supporters went to the Capitol not to ignite tension, but to simply show their sympathy.
Last Saturday, Gigi Sanchez-Zaballero visited Cardinal Vidal in his Sto. Niño subdivision residence to explain to him her late father’s 2010 administrative complaint that triggered the suspension.
Two days earlier, Deputy Speaker Pablo Garcia also visited the cardinal, reportedly to update him on developments in the Capitol impasse.
Yesterday, the elder Garcia said his daughter will remain in the Capitol until they get a favorable ruling.
He said although a six-month suspension was meted, she still has the right to occupy her office because only her functions as governor were suspended.
The Court of Appeals didn’t issue a TRO but set oral arguments of their petition on Thursday, January 10.
“That’s normal. Perhaps, the Court of Appeals wanted to know more about the case from both parties. That’s normal,” the congressman said.
He said Gwendolyn will be represented by the Manila-based Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc and Delos Angeles law office, where her daughter Christina Frasco is a senior associate.
While optimistic they will get a favorable ruling, Garcia hinted that they may elevate the case to the Supreme Court if needed.
“We will wait. Whatever happens, I think the party will be going to the Supreme Court,” he said.
The elder Garcia, who placed 3rd in the 1951 Bar Exams, said much as he wants to appear before the Court of Appeals, he is barred from represent his daughter in the oral arguments because he’s a congressman.
In a press statement, Liberal Party Cebu chairman Hilario Davide III said Gwen Garcia should step down after it “effectively denied her request for the issuance of a TR0” by setting the case for oral arguments.
“The court has spoken and Garcia should respect the CA’s decision,” Davide said.
He said Garcia has no more reason to occupy her office and “is a squatter at the Capitol living at the province’s expense.”
He said the perceived legal strategy of not leaving her office to “maintain” any imagined status quo was negated by the non-issuance of a TRO. /Reporter Ador Vincent Mayol And Correspondent Sean Timothy Salvador