SC upholds travel ban on Gwen Garcia

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The Supreme Court (SC) upheld the travel ban issued by the Sandiganbayan against Cebu (3rd District) Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia over a pending graft case.

“All told, the Sandiganbayan did not commit abuse of discretion, much less grave, in denying the motion for reconsideration and the prayer for the lifting of the HDOs (hold departure orders) issued against the petitioner. The HDOs were validly issued pursuant to its inherent powers as a court of justice,” the SC said in a decision dated Oct. 17, 2018 and only made available to newsmen late Monday.

The High Court, through Associate Justice Andres B. Reyes, Jr., turned down the petition filed by Garcia, which questioned the validity of the HDOs against her on the ground that they were issued before she was able to exhaust her legal remedies and even before there was a final determination of probable cause against her.

The case involved alleged anomalies in the purchase of 10 parcels of land 24.9-hectare property for the provincial government’s housing and seaport projects in 2008 when Garcia was Cebu governor.

“In this case the Sandiganbayan acted within its jurisdiction when it issued the HDOs against the petitioner. That the petitioner may seek reconsideration of the finding of probable cause against her by the Ombudsman does not undermine nor suspend the jurisdiction already acquired by the Sandiganbayan,” the SC explained. (PNA)