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Sereno camp to Garcia: You’re barking up the wrong tree

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The camp of Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno dismissed insinuations by Deputy Speaker Gwendolyn Garcia that the Office of the Ombudsman’s decision to dismiss her from government service for grave misconduct was connected to her “vigorous and active role” in the impeachment proceeding against the Chief Justice.

In a statement, Sereno’s spokesperson Jojo Lacanilao described Garcia’s claim as “bereft of truth and wisdom.”

“To set the record straight, the Chief Justice has nothing to do with the Ombudsman’s decision. Rep. Garcia was sacked from office for her questionable purchase of a P98.9-million underwater property when she was governor of Cebu without the authority of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan,” the spokesperson said.

“She misused public funds to buy a property submerged in the sea. These are the facts of the case and these were the bases of the Ombudsman’s decision,” Lacanilao said.

As an independent constitutional body mandated to check on wrongdoings of government officials, the Office of the Ombudsman has its own processes and it makes decisions free from outside control or influence, according to the lawyer.

“It is unfortunate that Rep. Garcia is using the ongoing impeachment hearing as an excuse, albeit shallow, for her dismissal from government service and perpetual disqualification from public office rather than check the laws of the land on graft and corruption,” he added.

“That she is being singled out by the Ombudsman is totally untrue. The real tragedy lies on the refusal of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to enforce the dismissal order of the Office of the Ombudsman against Rep. Garcia, who seems to be enjoying the special treatment of the House leader,” Lacanilao said.