The Committee on Complaints and Investigation of the Provincial Board called the parties of the Gica vs. Garcia case to a preliminary conference at the Capitol May 7.
Complainant of the case, Dumanjug acting Mayor Efren Guntrano Gica was present together with his counsel, Atty. Edgar Gica. Respondent Nelson Garcia was represented by his counsel Atty. Pablo John “PJ” Garcia.
Preliminary conference is the stage of litigation wherein parties and their counsel meet to stipulate facts, determine issues and admissions, and to consider the possibility of an amicable settlement.
No admissions were made by opposing parties and no compromise has been achieved. Atty. PJ Garcia said they would have been willing to reach a compromise if the Committee entertained the case they filed against Gica. “We will proceed with the investigation,” Garcia said.
The complainants will present six witnesses, including Nerio Aquino , the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) Secretary appointed by Gica, some members of the municipal board, and Emmilou Cabonillas, the SB Secretary appointed by Garcia as hostile witness. The respondent, on the other hand, will present 11 witnesses.
Complainant reiterated their main issue that Garcia is liable for usurpation of authority and for violating the provisions of the Local Government Code (LGC). Gica’s camp alleged that Garcia is guilty of oppression, intimidation and failure to perform official functions, such as not giving allowances as well as Representation Allowance and Transportation Allowance.
Respondent contended that there is no violation of the LGC and that Garcia should not be held administratively liable. Garcia’s camp also raised the issue to the committee whether the designation of Cabonillas amounts to an appointment or not.
The Committee will release a Preliminary Conference Order after three days, summarizing what has transpired in the initial conference. The parties are also mandated to submit judicial affidavits within 10 days from receipt of the order.
In an interview, Atty. Garcia expressed his reservations on the partiality of the committee. He said that he advised the respondent and his brother, Nelson Garcia, not to attend the preliminary conference to avoid any confrontation with the opposing parties.
Gica, on the other hand, said he just wishes that there will be prompt disposition of the case.