Partylist group sues Gwen over ‘mishandling’ of COVID-19 pandemic in Cebu province 

By: Morexette Marie Erram - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | November 22,2021 - 05:00 PM
Representatinves of partylist group, Sanlakas-Cebu, has filed an administrative case against Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia for her alleged handling of COVID-19 in the province. | Morexette Marie Erram

Representatives of partylist group, Sanlakas Group, has filed an administrative case at the Office of the Visayas Ombudsman against Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia for her alleged handling of COVID-19 in the province. | Morexette Marie Erram

CEBU CITY, Philippines — A partylist here has filed on Monday, November 22 administrative cases against Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia over her administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sanlakas Group, a partylist with chapters in Cebu, accused Garcia of committing gross neglect of duties and conduct, and grave misconduct for her alleged failure to respond properly to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sanlakas’ officials led by its Secretary General, Lawyer Jose Aaron Pedrosa, formally filed their complaint against the governor before the Office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas at past 3 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 22.

Based on the 15-page complaint they filed, Sanlakas reported Garcia to have violated the Code of Conduct for Government Officials and Employees (Republic Act No. 6713) and the President’s Executive Order No. 292.

They also blamed the governor for “promoting unscientific claims” such as tuob (Cebuano) and mandatory wearing of air purifiers inside poorly ventilated public transportation, which they claimed to have contributed to the province’s COVID-19 death toll to reach over 2,000.

Pedrosa said they intentionally filed the cases against Garcia amid the 2022 elections season, adding that the state of the healthcare industry, not only in Cebu but also countrywide, should be treated as an “election issue”. 

“It’s the timing gyud. Kay para makit-an nila nga we cannot take this sitting down. And we have to hear their platforms and their plans,” Pedrosa told reporters in an interview. 

(It is the timing. So that they can see that we cannot take this sitting down. And we have to hear their platforms and their plans.)

“And this is not only applicable to the governor only. We are also looking at the possibility of filing the same at the national office,” he added. 

Teodorico Navea, secretary general of Sanlakas-Cebu, said that Garcia’s “accomplishment report of successfully handling the COVID-19 health crisis” prompted their group to ask the state’s anti-graft body to investigate. 

“The Province of Cebu is not the best. In fact, we can say Gov. Garcia has the worst performance against the pandemic. For instance, she was the only official who required employees to buy and use useless air purifiers,” said Navea, who is a licensed pharmacist.

In the meantime, Navea also said their group could extend help to relatives of deceased COVID-19 patients in Cebu province. 

“We intend to pursue justice for Cebuanos especially grieving families who suffered unnecessary deaths. We urge victims to contact us,” he added. 

Reporters have reached out to Garcia for her comments as of this posting. 

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TAGS: administrative case, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, mishandling of the pandemic, Office of the Visayas Ombudsman, Sanlakas

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