The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) today strongly criticized violations of the law and the abuse of power by the Liberal Party in Cebu, calling it proof that “Mar-tial Law” has been declared by the administration party in the vote-rich province whose top local officials are affiliated with UNA.

 UNA Secretary General Toby Tiangco said the LP has committed “glaring violations of the law and clear abuse of power” in attempting to enforce the suspension order on Governor Gwen Garcia and install the Vice Governor who is a member of the ruling party led by DILG Secretary Mar Roxas.

 “The LP-affiliated Vice Governor closed down two media outlets on flimsy grounds. The police erected barricades and deployed hundreds of armalite-wielding policemen to the capitol. Supporters of the Governor and even employees were prevented from entering the grounds. They were not even allowed to bring in food that they have prepared,” he said.

 “As Vice President Binay himself pointed out, there is no need to arm the policemen with armalite rifles since it was a peaceful assembly,” he said. UNA earlier said the LP had converted the provincial capitol into a garrison.

 Tiangco also dismissed statements made by the Liberal Party spokesman as recycled statements used by the latter to defend Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo.

 “Representative Evardone used to be one of Mrs. Arroyo’s most loyal defenders and used to insist that Mrs. Arroyo was on the right side of the law each time her regime abused its power,” Tiangco said.

 “Like other Arroyo defenders who shifted loyalties en masse to the ruling party, the LP spokesman is recycling the same excuses meant to justify political harassment. Harassment is harassment. You cannot invoke “respect for the rule of law” and “daang matuwid” to justify a patently illegal act and the abuse of power. Those who are now invoking the rule of law and the righteous path should first examine their tainted political and moral backgrounds to avoid embarrassing themselves and their new masters,” he said.

“Nothing can justify abuse of power, especially not the recycled statements from defenders of the discredited former regime. No matter what the LP and its apologists say, the people of Cebu know that Mar-tial law has been imposed in their province,” he added.

The UNA official also took exception to claims made by the LP that party members have been treated in the same manner as Governor Garcia.

He said in the case of Caloocan Mayor Recom Echeverri, an LP member, his suspension was not effectively served and his followers were allowed to camp out in front of City Hall with the least intervention from the police.

“We did not hear the LP or the administration asking him to follow the suspension order while waiting for the Court of Appeals to decide,” he said.

For UNA, Tiangco said respect for the rule of law also means extending courtesy to a co-equal branch of government. “Since a case has already been filed before the Court of Appeals, the administration party should allow the courts to decide,” he said.

Tiangco added that Vice President Jejomar Binay, former President Joseph Estrada and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile visited Garcia to show their support, and could hardly be compared to the time DILG Secretary Mar Roxas accompanied partymate Grace Padaca when she posted bail before the Sandiganbayan recently.

“The leaders of UNA visited Governor Garcia to show their support for a beleaguered member and to make sure that the authorities respect the law. This is hardly a controversial move. It cannot be compared to DILG Secretary Mar Roxas attempting to influence the Sandiganbayan when he accompanied his party mate Grace Padaca when she posted bail for a graft case,” he said.

Tiangco also commented on the statement made by the LP gubernatorial candidate for Cebu that the people will render the ultimate judgment in the 2013 elections.

“This is precisely our point and this is what makes the suspension order nothing more than a power grab by the LP, a desperate and blatant attempt to overturn the decision of the people of Cebu in the 2010 elections,” he said. #