Suspended Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia remains grounded and will not be allowed to leave the country pending the resolution of the graft cases filed against her.
The Sandiganbayan 2nd Division sealed Garcia’s fate after it dismissed her petition to revoke the hold departure order (HDO) issued against her.
A report in radio station dzMM’s website said the eight-page resolution dated Jan. 2 emphasized that the anti-graft court continues to have jurisdiction over the two counts of graft and one count of malversation filed against Garcia in the Balili lot purchase case despite its order to the Office of the Ombudsman to resolve the governor’s motion for reconsideration.
The resolution said Garcia’s case stays despite an order by the Sandiganbayan to suspend its proceedings.
“There is nothing premature in, and no legal impediment whatsoever to, the issuance of HDO’s in these cases by the Court following a valid judicial determination of probable cause to hold (Garcia) for trial. The Court issued orders of arrest against (Garcia). It would be illogical to order her arrest but freely allow her to depart for abroad,” the resolution said.”
Such action of the Court (suspending proceedings) did not oust it of jurisdiction over the cases and over the person of the accused. (Garcia) remains charged before the Court with the offenses described in the Informations filed.”
The case against the governor stemmed from the provincial government’s 2008 purchase of the 24.9-hectare Balili property in Naga City which which turned out to be largely underwater with 19.67-hectares of the purchased property submerged in the sea. /Senior Associate Editor Ares Gutierrez