House Deputy Speaker Garcia dismissed from public office over purchase of Balili property

By: King Anthony Perez and Morexette Erram February 12,2018 - 02:15 PM

Deputy Speaker Gwendolyn Garcia questioned the ‘timing’ of Ombudsman’s decision to dismiss her from public office.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales ordered the dismissal of Garcia,  former Cebu Governor and now third district representative for grave misconduct.

The Ombudsman also directed House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to implement the dismissal order, which carries the accessory penalties of perpetual disqualification from holding public office, cancellation of eligibility and forfeiture of retirement benefits.

The order stemmed from an administrative case filed against Garcia and other Cebu Capitol officials for purchasing the controversial P98-million Balili property in Barangay Tinaan, Naga City, Cebu in June 2008.

It was alleged that 196,696 square meters of the property were underwater and part of a mangrove area.

The Ombudsman found that Garcia had no authority from the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) when she entered into contracts with ABF Construction for the supply and delivery of backfilling materials of its submerged and mangrove portions.

The provincial government released a total of P24,468,927.66 to the said contractor.

The Ombudsman also added that Garcia violated several provisions under the Administrative Code of 1987 and Government Auditing Code of the Philippines, which proscribe the entering into a contract unless a certification of appropriation and fund availability for the expenditure is issued.

“It does seem as though as the Ombudsman has singled me out. An act that was done when I was still governor several years ago, you’d rather wonder whether this was purposely done. As you saw, I’m very active in the impeachment hearing against Chief Justice Sereno,” Garcia said in a statement.

Garcia’s co-respondent, former provincial accountant and now treasurer Emmanuel Guial, was found guilty of simple neglect of duty and ordered suspended for three months.

In a statement, Guial said that he will follow the orders of the Ombudsman, but he will seek legal aid once he receives a copy of the order.

Other administrative charges against Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) Chairperson Marivic Garces, Vice-Chairperson Bernard Calderon, members Manuel Purog, Emme Gingoyon, Ma. Junelene Arenas, Cristina Giango and Rosalinda Jao, and Acting Provincial Treasurer Roy Salubre were dismissed for lack of merit.

 

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TAGS: Balili property, Cebu‬, Cebu province, CEBU Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia, grave misconduct, Naga City, Ombudsman

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