Gwen’s turn to charge
“Enough is enough.”
Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia of Cebu’s 3rd district yesterday filed a string of complaints against Gov. Hilario Davide III for what she called the “malicious neglect” of the the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC).
She said the legacy project of her administration as Cebu governor was a “former jewel of Mandaue city” that no longer earns revenue for the province because it was left to rot.
In a complaint filed with the Ombudsman in the Visayas, Garcia said there was no reason to refuse to repair the CICC because the structure, built in 2006 for over P846 million, was insured with the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).
“All (he) had to do was to claim the proceeds from the insurance policy,” she said.
Garcia , who served as Cebu governor from 2004 to 2013, asked the Office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas to hold Davide liable for six offenses – grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty, conduct unbecoming of a public officer, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, oppression, and for violating Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
She said Davide should be placed on preventive suspension while the case is pending.
“Enormous economic opportunities have come and gone but merely breezed past through this former jewel in the last two years since its destruction,” the former governor said in her affidavit.
“As a taxpayer, I cannot help but cringe at the debilitating reality that P846 million of people’s money has been dissipated by respondent’s refusal to take action.”
Her lawyer Beulah Coeli Fiel filed complaint past 11 a.m. last Wednesday, about three hours after Mandaue City-based lawyer Ervin Estandarte filed his own case against Davide and members of the Cebu Provincial Board for refusal to repair the CICC.
Garcia told CDN over the phone yesterday that she didn’t alert the media about her case since it may be construed as a political move.
“I didn’t want to engage in political sloganeering as what the other camp is doing,” she said.
Fiel, who is Garcia’s cousin, said Estandarte was not related to the family or influenced to file the case against the governor.
“Congresswoman Gwen would not have filed her own complaint if she wanted someone to proxy for her. We do hope that there will be more people like Atty. Estandarte,” said Fiel in a text message to CDN.
Estandarte told CDN he acted on his own.
“I’m not working for any candidate. I even voted for Davide in 2013.
I just wanted the CICC to be repaired,” said the lawyer.
“I filed the case because it hurts to see the CICC in disrepair every time I go jogging there.”
Estandarte is chief operations officer of the Zero Waste Management Facility in the City of Naga in south Cebu and is a native of Bislig in Surigao del Sur.
The CICC, built as a venue for the 2007 ASEAN Summit, was badly damaged by the earthquake in October 2013 and supertyphoon Yolanda the following month.
Garcia said the CICC was “one of, if not the most significant modern day historical monuments for the Cebuanos” and had state-of-the-art facilities, a “sophisticated but practical design and formidable structure” that was proof Cebu could meet world-class standards.
She said the CICC Cebu’s place on the map of the world but now, “it has been reduced to no more than rubble, and pitifully, a tool for respondent’s own political agenda.”
She said Governor Davide showed bad faith when he allow huge “Never Again” streamers to be hung in the facade of the CICC and that it was part of the “evilness of his design” to repeatedly call the building a “monument of corruption.
Garcia said the governor “flipflopped” in his own statements from expressing interest to repair the CICC and estimating the work at P70 milllion since it was being considered an APEC venue to saying he won’t spend a single centavo from provincial coffers to repair an “P840 million mistake that we inherited.”
Davide earlier sought the advice of the Visayas Ombudsman and was given the go-signal in August 2015 by Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Paul Elmer Clemente who said the fact that the CICC is the subject of a graft case should not impeded any “legitimate developmental program” pursued for the general welfare of the people.
Garcia said Davide’s “dizzying flip-flopping stance on this issue reveals a warped sense of governance and bigotry at its highest level.”
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