The Office of the Vice President (OVP) today asked Philippine National Police (PNP) Central Visayas Regional Director Chief Supt. Marcelo Garbo to abandon his plan to physically remove Governor Gwendolyn Garcia from the provincial capitol before January 1 2013.
The OVP said such a “provocative act” could heighten political tension in Cebu and will invite “counter-actions that could have political consequences beyond your control.”
It also asked the general if he was prepared to guarantee that there will be no injuries or casualties as a result of the planned removal of Garcia.
Lawyer Ira Pozon, head of the OVP Special Concerns Office, also asked Garbo to state if he was acting on his own or on orders from DILG Secretary Mar Roxas or PNP Chief Director General Allan Purisima.
Garbo was earlier quoted saying that he will only remove Garcia from the capitol if he is ordered to do by higher authorities.
“Does this mean that you have received orders from higher ups, particularly the Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government or the Director General of the Philippine National Police, or are you acting on your own?,” he said.
Pozon reminded the police general that Garcia has brought the issue of her suspension before the Court of Appeals, with a prayer for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order.
“Due process and the rule of law, not to mention judicial courtesy, require that you hold in abeyance your decision to remove the Governor from the provincial capitol.
He also described the plan as un-Christian, “considering that we are still observing the most joyous season for Catholics.”
Pozon also warned Garbo that “such a provocative act could add to the political tension now prevailing in Cebu.”
“As a law enforcement officer, your responsibility is to maintain peace and order, not to fuel unrest or spark protests. We hope that you will be discerning and responsible enough to realize that physically removing the Governor from her office while the process of appeal is not yet complete invites charges of abuse of authority and violation of due process,” he said.
“Moreso, such an act invites counter-actions that could have political consequences beyond your control,” he added.
The OVP also took a jab at Garbo for reportedly claiming that his promotion to two-star rank should not delayed or prejudiced by his action against the Cebu Governor.