Davide 'insulted' by Garcia’s warning vs midnight appointments

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Outgoing Governor Hilario Davide III said he was insulted when returning governor Gwendolyn “Gwen” Garcia instructed his office not to make any “midnight appointments” and deals.

Davide told media in a news briefing on Monday, May 20, that Garcia sent what he described as the unnecessary directive through a letter addressed to his office.

"I don't find it necessary. I just don't want kining tenor niya (her tone) telling me to refrain from midnight appointments, porbida pud uy (oh my God),” Davide told reporters at a press conference on Monday, May 20.  

In her letter to Davide, Garcia told the incumbent governor to refrain from “issuing midnight appointments pursuant to existing laws, and regulations” and “refrain from entering midnight deals, contracts, and transactions that are proscribed under laws, rules, and regulations.”

The incoming governor also said that she would object to the sale of property owned by the province, particularly, the controversial Balili property which Davide had said he wanted to sell to the Naga City government for P100 million. (READ: Gwen Garcia and the Balili property: A tale of two controversies)

The property has been the subject of a graft case against Garcia. Days before the May 13 elections, the Court of Appeals reversed the Office of the Ombudsman's January 2018 order dismissing Garcia from government service and perpetually barring her from seeking public office for grave misconduct. 

The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan had earlier affirmed the Ombudsman's graft and technical malversation charges against Garcia. Then-Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, however, did not dismiss Garcia, who also served as deputy speaker. 

Garcia, currently serving as Cebu City 3rd District congresswoman, won the Cebu gubernatorial race, beating her closest rival, Vice Governor Agnes Magpale, by nearly 300,000 votes.

Davide, Magpale's running mate, won as vice governor.  Davide and Garcia are longtime political rivals. 

Davide had previously said that he would support Garcia’s programs for Cebu and would not be an “obstructionist” when he, as vice governor, assumes the role of presiding officer of the provincial board.

"We have a transition team. As a matter fact, I gave them instructions. I appointed a provincial admin to get in touch with the office of Cong Gwen Garcia," Davide said.  – Ryan Macasero/Rappler.com