A day after a second warrant of arrest was issued against her, suspended Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia finally appeared at the Sandiganbayan Friday afternoon and pleaded not guilty on charges of graft and malversation of public funds against her.
Garcia was finally arraigned by the anti-graft court Friday afternoon despite effort by her legal counsel to block the proceedings, citing they still have pending petition at the Supreme Court questioning the validity of the complaints against her.
Accompanied by a battery of legal counsels led by Tranquil Salvador III, Gov. Garcia who looked calm and composed appeared at the Sandiganbayan Second Division that issued a second warrant of arrest against her last Thursday when she failed to attend her scheduled arraignment.
The anti-graft court has set the preliminary conference for her case on May 29 and 30 while the pre-trial is set on June 17 and 18.
With her already arraigned, the court automatically lifted the warrant of arrest against her while her P90,000 bail which was ordered confiscated, was reinstated.
Garcia was charged of 2 counts of graft and one count of malversation of public funds for the Cebu provincial government’s purchase of 24.7 hectares of land worth P98.9 million.
The complaint alleged that it was anomalous as 19 hectares of the subject property was submerged under water.
But Garcia strongly denied that there was anything anomalous in the land purchase, saying she was “not aware” the property was under water because she relied on the report of the Provincial Appraisal Committee.