- The Ombudsman has ordered the dismissal of Cebu Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia
- Garcia was facing grave miscounduct over the questionable contract she entered into when she was still governor of Cebu
- The Ombudsman order carries the penalty of perpetual disqualification from holding a public office, among others
MANILA, Philippines – The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the dismissal of Deputy House Speaker and Cebu Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia for grave misconduct in connection with a questionable acquisition of a property when she was still governor of the province.
In its ruling, the Ombudsman said she lacked the authority to enter into an agreement with a contractor for the Balili project, a P98.9-million property acquired during Garcia’s term as governor in 2008 which was found to be mostly submerged in water.
Garcia then commissioned Supreme ABF Construction to supply backfilling materials for the submerged portion in a contract worth P24.47 million in 2012. The amount came from the P50-M allotment for the airport/seaport and other economic enterprise site development program carried over to the 2012 budget.
The Ombudsman said that while they found merit in Garcia’s assertion that the source of fund was valid, the respondent supposedly lacked the authority to enter into a contract with Supreme ABF Construction.
“She failed to point out the specific provision in the appropriation ordinance which supposedly authorized her to enter into the contract,” the Ombudsman said.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales also ordered House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to implement the order.
If implemented, Garcia, one of President Rodrigo Duterte’s key allies in the Lower House, will be slapped with perpetual disqualification from holding a public office, cancellation of eligibility and forfeiture of retirement benefits as part of the ‘accessory penalties’ the offense carries.