No one begrudges Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, her allies and supporters the right to hold a rally to denounce the suspension order issued against her by the Palace even if it did cause some major traffic congestion yesterday.
What should be addressed is the use of governmnet buses to fetch followers from various towns in Cebu to attend the rally at the Capitol grounds. This, even if she hadn’t been suspended, is a misuse of government resources.
It clearly violates the prohibition against the use of government vehicles and facilities for political or personal purposes.
It’s bad enough that the governor has been stamping projects with her name on road signs of “EGWEN HIGHWAY” up and down Cebu province.
She could even make another run for the top Capitol post by claiming that she wasn’t able to fully serve her last term in office.
In the meantime, however, Governor Garcia can’t command the Capitol’s resources and facilities because the suspension officially cuts her out of the loop for six months.
Would the noise generated by yesterday’s rally influence the Court of Appeals to rule in her favor and issue a temporary restraining order against her suspension?
The justices in Manila are far from the rabble in the street and don’t make decisions based on fist waving and slogans.
A decision will be made based on clear-cut issues of the use and abuse of power.
The use of government-owned buses of barangays, municipalities and even the brand-new Suroy Suroy coasters bought by the Capitol are ripe subjects for a separate Ombudsman investigation as part of its “Oplan Red Plate” program.
If officials are barred from using government facilities and resources for their personal ends, how much more those suspended from office?
Acting Gov. Agnes Magpale can file a case against the suspended governor for doing this, but with the slow pace of investigation by the Capitol on Garcia-related cases like the Balili property purchase and the Cebu International Convention Center project, this may just add to the backlog.
Still, the current Capitol administration should do so if only to serve notice to the suspended governor and her camp that the misuse of province-owned property won’t be tolerated.