UNA says Roxas doing an Arroyo; decries LP ‘power grab’ in Cebu

THE United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) today said DILG Secretary Mar Roxas has mounted a “power grab” in Cebu with the suspension of Cebu Governor and UNA stalwart and congressional bet Gwen Garcia.

UNA Secretary General Toby Tiangco said with Governor Garcia suspended, the Vice Governor, who is a member of the Liberal Party and the running mate of the LP gubernatorial bet, takes over, thus giving the administration party effective control over the province.

“This is without a doubt a power grab by Roxas and the LP. This is a return to the discredited practice of the Arroyo regime where the people’s will is subverted and government power is used to harass and persecute political opponents,” he said. The suspension stemmed from an administrative complaint filed in 2010 by the former vice governor who has already died.

“Apparently, Secretary Roxas is using the vast powers of his office to dig up old complaints against local officials and use these cases to harass and intimidate. This is not ‘daang matuwid’. This is Gloria part 2,” he said.

Tiangco added that Roxas has “hijacked” the administration’s reform agenda for selfish political ends.

“It is becoming apparent that the noble goal of moral governance is being hijacked by the selfish political agenda of the administration party and Secretary Roxas,” he added.

The order suspending Garcia comes just a few days after Roxas, based on the statement of an admitted jueteng bagman, ordered a probe into the alleged involvement of Gov. Romeo Espino of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) in jueteng operations in his province of Pangasinan.

Tiangco noted that both Cebu and Pangasinan are vote-rich provinces whose governors are not considered political allies by Secretary Roxas and LP. “Both of them are running against candidates fielded by the LP, whose political boss remains Secretary Roxas,” he said.

He also said UNA expects Roxas, in his defense, to once again claim that those questioning the order are contradicting the President’s reform agenda.

“Mr. Secretary, we do not question the President’s reform agenda. We embrace the campaign to reform government, and to make government officials more accountable to the people. However, accountability should be applied to all government officials regardless of political connections or affiliations. That, for us, is the essence of walking the righteous path,” he said.

“The issue is not reforms. The issue is the disturbing pattern of political persecution by Secretary Roxas of the LP’s opponents in the 2013 elections,” he added.

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