After Byron Garcia dared Chief Supt. Marcelo Garbo to a fistfight and warned of a riot in the provincial jail, the police will have a closer look at whether Byron’s present and past actions fall squarely within the law.
The chief of the Police Regional Office (PRO-7) yesterday ordered his staff to study the record of the brother of suspended Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, who marked her 20th day of staying put in her Capitol office.
“Anything which I perceive a threat to the PNP organization is subjected for intelligence profiling,” Garbo told reporters.
“We will deal with him.”
The riot threat was a false alarm in the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC), where activities were “normal” on Sunday and yesterday, according to the OIC warden Romeo Manansala.
However, a commotion on Sunday over the stabbing of an inmate in the Cebu City jail prompted police to send a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team to both jails in barangay Kalunasan, where acting Gov. Agnes Magpale was due to visit CPDRC inmates on their “family day” to greet them a happy new year, a visit that was aborted.
Byron yesterday continued his verbal attack on Garbo, saying the Garcias were not afraid of his “psy-war” and that the police officer should be ashamed of picking a fight with a woman.
He announced in a Capitol meeting of mayors of Garcia’s One Cebu party that his sister, the governor, is preparing a complaint against Garbo for his continued “harassment” in fielding PNP personnel to guard the Capitol building and giving her supporters a hard time entering the compound.
Byron, a former Capitol security consultant who used to oversee the provincial jail, let loose more bombastic challenges, this time for Garbo to revoke the license of a .45 caliber Gloc handgun Byron said he owns.
“Ikaw, Garbo, palagpoton tika sa umaabot nga usa o duha ka adlaw kay mura kag si kinsa nga mo labaw pa sa imong amo. One-star general ka lang,” said Byron in the mayor’s meeting. (You, Garbo, will get get kicked out in one or two days. You think you are higher than your own superior. You’re just a one-star general.)
Byron, who once brandished an Armalite in a dispute with a neighbor in a Filinvest subdivision last year, reminded Garbo that it was only the PNP Fire and Explosives Office in Camp Crame that could cancel and revoke a license.
Garbo yesterday said he would “not dignify” Byron’s challenge to a fistfight.
“I instructed my staff to study whatever action is proper to take against any statement given by Byron”, Garbo told reporters.
“We are not taking this personally.”
Asked if he had any message for Byron, Garbo said “just keep it up at sumunod siya sa batas”.
In front of reporters, Chief Supt. Garbo yesterday finalized his recommendation to Camp Crame to cancel gun licenses of the governor’s son Pablo “Paolo” Garcia III and two companions involved in a Dec. 19 confrontation with the police at the Capitol.
“I will sign and approve the cancellations of gun licenses of Pablo Garcia III and two others”, Garbo told reporters before he actually signed it.
Paolo Garcia has seven firearms registered at the office of Firearms Explosives Unit (FEU), while Tonyson Lee has four registered guns and Jose Mari Primitivo Cal has three, according to the police.
Paolo, who manages the family’s 20-year-old security agency, earlier lamented that he was being “harassed” by the police and would be unable to defend himself and his family if the police revoke his firearms licenses.
His mother, in a press conference last week, warned that she would hold Garbo personally responsible “if anything happens to my children.”
While the police are under instructions to observe “super maximum tolerance”, relations with the Garcias have gone downhill since Dec. 19, when her six-month suspension was served.
The police filed direct assault charges against her son and two companions for allegedly hitting a police officer on the head several times when law enforcers removed tents at the Capitol. They in turn were charged with robbery and grave abuse of authority by Garcia’s son.
Lee is a member of Alpha Kappa Rho while Cal is a former agent of National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). All of them were facing direct assault charges after they were accused of hitting Inspector Alvino Enguito, team leader of the Regional Public Safety Batallion, on the head.
Garbo said his recommendation to cancel their gun licenses was virtually assured of approval by PNP Chief Allan Purisima in Camp Crame, whom he consulted beforehand.
Asked what was the basis, Garbo cited the behavior of Paolo and his two friends in “assaulting” a police officer last Dec. 19 at the Capitol compound which he said was shown on TV footage.
Paolo has repeatedly denied hitting the police officer.
Meanwhile, Rep. Tomas Osmeña said the threats of Byron against the police officer were part of the “drama” of the Garcias to project the suspended governor as a victim of oppression.
“As far as I’m concerned, Gwen is making a fool of herself and Byron is adding to this perception. She wants to be kicked out of the Capitol because she wants to be projected as a martyr,” said Osmeña.
But he said her continued stay as a “hermit” at the Capitol had its benefits because this prevents her from campaigning in the province against the Liberal Party’s gubernatorial candidate Hilario “Junjun” Davide Jr.
Garcia has deplored her suspension by the Office of the President as “illegal” and a “power grab” by the Liberal Party.
She has vowed to stay in her Capitol office, saying she can only be removed “over my dead body” , while she waits for the court to reverse the suspension order and issue a temporary restraining order.
The case is scheduled for oral arguments in the Court of Appeals in Manila on Jan. 10. /Chito O. Aragon and Renan Alangilan, Correspondents with Reporters Dale Israel and Chief of Reporters Doris Bongcac