“Consummatum Est. (It is finished).”
Beleaguered Mayor Nelson Garcia echoed the following words right after the Provincial Board Members voted with finality on his suspension, as penalty for grave abuse of authority.
In a unanimous vote, the Provincial Board, as a collegial body, ruled in affirming the proposal of the Committee on Complaints and Investigation to suspend the respondent for six months.
The issue was one of the agenda in yesterday’s session. Vice-governor Agnes Magpale declared a vote to divide the house regarding the commendation of the Committee on Complaints and Investigation.
Board Member Alex Binghay took the floor and said that the committee report is in order and he had nothing to object. Except, he continued, that the proposed punishment of six months is too harsh, a suspension of three months is reasonable.
On cue, Board Member Grecilda Sanchez-Zaballero opined that the board has already agreed on the period of punishment through an earlier resolution. Further, she stated that the respondent has other legal remedies should the vote be not favorable.
To restore order, Magpale reasoned that the concern on the duration of the punishment is best dealt with the members of the Committee on Investigation after voting. She went on to stress that the real issue is to vote upon the suspension.
Again, Magpale asked the collegial body to vote on the pending resolution. She inquired if there is an objection to the recommendation. The board was silent. Then, she raised a query if there is a motion to affirm the proposed penalty.
At this point, Board Member Zaballero motioned to affirm the proposed suspension and was duly seconded. Thereafter, vice-governor Magpale pounded her gavel three times to signify finality of the recommended punishment against the respondent.
After the end of the legislative session, Board Member Arleigh Sitoy was questioned regarding a possible commutation of the sentence. He responded that he cannot say anything because he does not want to preempt the decision of the Committee on Complaints and Investigation.
When asked for comment on the finality of his suspension, Mayor Nelson Garcia responded that his lawyers will explore other legal remedies. He continued that the whole process is politically motivated because he was deprived of due process. He was not even given an opportunity to be heard.
Further, he quipped, “Kay padung naman ang Lenten season, hinaut unta na malamdagan na sa espiritu santo ang atong mga board members. Consummatum est.”
“(Lenten season is coming. I hope that our board members will be enlightened by the holy spirit. It is finished.)”