Fariñas: House will decide if Ombudsman’s dismissal order against Garcia is valid

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Majority Leader Rudy Fariñas said the House of Representatives would determine whether the Office of the Ombudsman’s order dismissing Deputy Speaker Gwendolyn Garcia was valid first before implementing it.

“We will look at the records. May mga rules din naman kami. We have to refer it to the plenary, so ang plenary din ang magde-decide nyan. So titingnan muna namin yung order if it’s valid,” he told reporters.

He said it was in the House rules that any order involving its members would be studied and approved by the plenary.

“Nasa rules namin yan. Every order coming from a court or whatever administrative bodies, we have to first determine: Is the order valid? Is it relevant to our rules? So ire-refer namin yan sa plenary,” Fariñas said.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales ordered the dismissal of Garcia, representative of Cebu’s third district, from the service in connection with the allegedly anomalous purchase of a P98.9-million Balili property when she was the governor of Cebu.

In June 2008, Garcia purchased the controversial Balili property, a 249,246 square meter lot in Tinaan, Naga, Cebu, for P98,926,800. Local authorities later discovered that 196,696 square meters of the property were underwater and part of a mangrove area.

The Ombudsman directed Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to implement the dismissal order, which carries the accessory penalties of perpetual disqualification from holding public office, cancellation of eligibility, and forfeiture of retirement benefits.

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