Although she has not officially made a declaration to take back the reigns of the Capitol after she completely served her six-month suspension, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia assumed office last Wednesday (June 19).
Garcia arrived at the Capitol at around 4pm in the afternoon. She was accompanied by her children Atty. Christina Garcia-Frasco, and Paulo Garcia and wife Michelle. Asturias Mayor Alan Adlawan was also there.
At around 9am in the morning, the governor’s office, which has been padlocked for almost five months, was re-opened by the personnel of Provincial Engineer’s Office in the presence of Garcia’s staff headed by Chief of Staff Elizabeth Francia.
The representatives of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Commission on Audit, Provincial Vice- Governor’s Office, Provincial Administrator’s Office, and Gov. Garcia’s staff witnessed the unlocking of the governor’s office, including the doors leading to the governor’s office.
DILG 7 Legal Officer Aiiza Fiel Nogra said as the six-month or 180-day suspension was over, Garcia is expected to return to her office last Tuesday. She said the DILG did not receive any communication from Garcia if she is reporting or she is taking leave of absence. She said the procedure is that she notifies the Provincial Board of she is reporting.
If she will never show up, then Vice Governor Agnes Magpale continues to sit as acting governor by operation of law.
Garcia was suspended for abuse of authority, an administrative case that was filed against her by the late Gregorio Sanchez in 201O. The suspension order was handed down by DILG last December 19, but Garcia refused to vacate her office as she applied for a temporary restraining order with the Court of Appeals.
Garcia left the Capitol on January 30 for an appointment in the south but was not allowed to go back to the Capitol as her office was padlocked on orders by then acting Governor Magpale.