Cebu, Philippines – Governor Gwendolyn Garcia assumed office yesterday as Cebu’s no.1 provincial official after a six-month suspension.
Garcia was back in her seat at the Provincial Capitol at 3:55 p.m. ending speculations if she would continue serving her final term as a governor with 11 days left on her administration. She immediately held closed-door meetings with Department of Interior and Local Government Provincial Director Gerome Gonzales and DILG legal officer Atty. Alefa Nogra.
Nogra later said that the return of the suspended governor was a mere formality. She added that Garcia has the right to assume office again as governor.
It was also reported that Garcia sent a letter of re-assumption to the Provincial Board. With this action, Acting Governor Agnes Magpale will automatically resume her post as a vice governor.
Prior to the appearance of Garcia at the Capitol, Magpale said in a press conference that she will return to office again as Acting Governor following the letter sent by DILG-7 Regional Director Ananias Villacorta directing her to act as the governor considering the absence of Garcia.
Garcia however started working and eventually issued a memorandum firing Eduardo Habin, the provincial administrator who carried out the order from the Office of the President that locked her out of the office on January 30.
“She’s back with a vengeance. (But) we are prepared for this,” Magpale said.
Capitol department heads including General Services Office head Eva Encabo, provincial auditor Marieto Ypil and provincial treausurer Emmanuel Guial filed for leave on Monday in an anticipation of Garcia’s return.
It is expected that staff changes will happen in the Capitol before Garcia turn over her post to governor-elect Hilario Davide III on June 30.
After the suspension ends, Garcia’s office was given a fast cleanup and was opened at 9:30 a.m. on Monday in the presence of representatives from DILG, Commission on Audit and Garcia’s trusted aides Ronald Conopio, Elizabeth Francia and Amor Sarmiento.