By: Jennifer P. Rendon and Francis Allan L. Angelo
PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has ordered Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año to file charges against Iloilo 1st district Rep. Richard Garin and his father, Mayor Oscar Garin of Guimbal, Iloilo for allegedly mauling a police officer.
In an interview after visiting the wake of slain Ako Bicol party-list Representative Rodel Batocabe in Daraga, Albay, Mr. Duterte said hurting a police officer cannot be justified, even if the latter is at fault.
“Kung may kasalanan man ang police, it’s not a reason especially a police officer na bugbugin mo. So, they will have to file the case. Direct assault,” the President said.
“Sinabi ko ‘yan early on na huwag ninyong gawain ‘yung terror – political terrorism. Hindi maganda. Tsaka wala ng demokrasya papatayin mo… I don’t know who he is. He could be a mayor, he could be a governor, he could be just a plain – galit. But that is not the way how to do it,” he added.
In a statement, PNP Director General Oscar Albayalde said he ordered the cancellation of all gun permits issued to the Garins “as an administrative action to their involvement in a criminal case involving the use of firearms.”
The cancellation covers the Permits to Carry Firearms outside of Residence (PTCFOR) and License to Own and Possess Firearms (LTOPF) issued by the PNP to Rep. Richard Garin and incumbent Mayor Oscar Garin of Guimbal, Iloilo.
“Rep. Richard Garin and Mayor Oscar Garin will be duly notified of this administrative sanction to their privilege to own and possess firearms pursuant to Republic Act 10591, and will be commanded to immediately turn-in all their registered firearms to the PNP,” Albayalde said.
Citing the firearms information database, the PNP chief said Rep. Richard Garin is the registered owner of 11 firearms, 3 of which have expired licenses, while Mayor Oscar Garin is the registered owner of 8 firearms, 5 of which also have expired licenses.
“All these firearms are now subject to confiscation upon revocation of their License to Own and Possess Firearms, effectively making them ineligible to own and possess guns,” he added.
PO3 Federico Macaya Jr. of Guimbal Police Station has filed charges for physical injuries, assault upon a person in authority, alarm and scandal, grave coercion and grave threats against the Garins.
As an ex-officio member of the National Police Commission (Napolcom), Albayalde said he is also endorsing to the Napolcom en banc the recommendation of Chief Supt. John C Bulalacao, Police Regional Office (PRO)-6 director, to withdraw the Napolcom deputation of Mayor Oscar Garin to exercise supervision and control over the local police of Guimbal.
Iloilo first district Rep. Richard Garin had publicly apologized for the “scuffle” that happened between him and his father Mayor Oscar Garin, and a member of the Guimbal municipal police station.
“Regarding sa incident sa Guimbal Plaza nga natabo kaina (Dec 26, 2018), first and foremost, nagapangayo ako sang pasensiya especially sa Philippine National Police as an institution, and also sa officers and personnel sang PNP upon whom I have great respect,” Rep. Garin said in a statement.
The incident pertained to the alleged manhandling of Police Officer 3 (PO3) Federico Macaya Jr., a member of the Guimbal Police Station, morning of Dec 26, 2018 at the town plaza of Guimbal, Iloilo.
The episode stemmed from a rumble that happened 12:45 a.m. of Dec. 22, 2018 at the food court area in Guimbal town, where Macaya was allegedly manhandled.
A certain Noel Gicana, 21, of Barangay Cabubugan, Guimbal, complained that Vergil Gegato, the son of an incumbent Sangguniang Bayan member of Guimbal, struck him with an empty bottle of beer.
Gicana suffered wounds on his head and right foot. But he decided not to sue Gegato by executing an affidavit of non-interest to file the case.
Macaya was one of the two police investigators assigned to the case.
This allegedly irked Mayor Oscar Garin Sr. after he saw Gicana slightly limping.
Gicana claimed Macaya allegedly asked him to drop and settled the case.
The Garins wanted the victim to pursue the case against Gegato to serve as a lesson.
But Macaya said Gicana decided to drop the case as he does not want his mother, who is an overseas Filipino worker, to worry about him.
Macaya’s alleged intervention in the case led to the confrontation with the Garins Wednesday morning.
In a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Rep. Garin narrated what happened on Dec 22.
“Sang Sabado, December 22 may natabo nga kinagamo sa Guimbal Plaza, during the celebration sang Disyembre sa Guimbal. Ang suspect may gin-sakit nga isa ka bata. Gamay man lang tani ina nga disturbo ugaling ang suspect isa ka habitual delinquent. Ang suspect may pending case for murder which was filed when he was only 15 years old,” he said
The lawmaker said that despite of the circumstances, Macaya allegedly told the victim (Gicana) to withdraw the case against Gegato.
This, Rep. Garin said, is a clear infraction of the law stating that a case should be filed
“What the police did was, to me, is a betrayal of public trust and abuse of his position. What he (Macaya) did was clearly against the policy of the PNP not to move for the settlement of the case on the victim’s camp in a criminal case,” he said.
Despite what happened, Rep. Garin said he sincerely apologizes for what happened.
“I reiterate my apologies for my actions which I take full responsibility for. But I want to clarify that my actions are not directed to the PNP as an institution, or against its officers and personnel. My actions were a mere display of extreme frustration towards one, single PNP personnel, which for me, committed a great disservice to the people of Guimbal,” he said in conclusion.
After briefly facing the media with his wife Janette and their child, Rep. Garin went to Police Regional Office (PRO)-6 headquarters in Camp Martin Delgado, Iloilo City to meet Chief Supt. John Bulalacao, PRO-6 director.
In a statement, Bulalacao said he has accepted the Garins’ apology and clarified that he has nothing against the family.
But Bulalacao said the investigation will continue as he did not like the way Macaya was handled.
“He (Garin) asked for an apology. I told him that I accept his apology but it doesn’t mean that we won’t go with our investigation,” Bulalacao said.
The PRO-6 chief was irked by reports that Macaya got slapped and spat on the face.
“Binugbog sya, sinampal, at dinuraan while in police uniform. That’s an affront to the police organization,” he said.
The incident also led to the relief of Senior Inspector Antonio Monreal Jr., Guimbal police chief.
Also, all 29 police officers in Guimbal have asked to be transferred from Guimbal after the Macaya episode.
In the meantime, Chief Inspector Raymond Celoso will take over the helm of Guimbal PNP.
Bulalacao said he also recalled the police escorts to Rep. Garin and plans to request for the cancellation of Mayor Oscar Garin’s deputation over the PNP.
When asked if he would accept Richard’s apology, Macaya said he was greatly affected by what happened that he is bent on pursuing case against the solon.
A police officer of 13 years, Macaya is a native of Maasin, Iloilo. He was assigned in Guimbal in February 2018 after deployment in Antique Police Provincial Office (APPO).