Cebu restobars to add security personnel after mauling of international chef
CEBU CITY — Management of restobars in Barangay Kasambagan here have agreed to increase the number of security personnel in their establishments to prevent fights.
In a dialogue with the local police on Friday, the bar operators also committed to install additional closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras which can help authorities in case of crimes.
Col. Ireneo Dalogdog, director of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), said they found out that F. Café and Bar, where renowned international chef Jason Atherton was mauled by some men, only had two bouncers when the incident happened.
“Having additional security personnel or bouncers is a great investment for these establishments,” he said.
The CCPO organized the meeting with bar owners last Friday following a brawl inside F Café and Bar on Dec. 24.
Owners and some workers of a restobar in Barangay Kasambagan here are facing separate probes over the alleged mauling of Atherton on Dec. 23.
Lawyer Rennan Augustus Oliva, director of the National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas (NBI-7), said they received a request from Atherton to investigate the mauling incident inside F Café and Bar.
Oliva last Thursday sent a subpoena to Frances Lee, owner of the restobar, to appear before him at 10 a.m. of January 4, 2023.
He also asked Lee to produce the CCTV footage inside and within the vicinity of F Cafe and Bar from 10 p.m. of Dec 23 to 2 a.m. of Dec. 24.
The incident was first reported by Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia through her Facebook account last Wednesday.
The governor said a group of men harassed Atherton’s 17-year-old daughter as the latter waited in line to use the restroom of the restorbar.
When Atherton asked the men to apologize, a heated confrontation ensued and led to a fight.
Garcia said she was disappointed since some of the restobar’s workers held Atherton so he couldn’t fight back.
“On the night of December 23, while in the F Café and Bar with his wife and daughter, a group of guys beat him up. Worse, F Bar’s bouncers held him down so Jason couldn’t fight back. The lady manager joined in the melee, even providing a bottle to beat him further, the whole time condemning him and all foreigners as troublemakers,” she said in her post.
“This gracious, gifted man certainly did not deserve the shameful treatment he got, right here, in Cebu,” she added.
A photo of Atherton’s face with bruises was posted by Garcia on Facebook.
“Shame on those who harassed Jason’s daughter then beat him up! Shame on the bouncers and lady manager of F Café and Bar! Shame! Shame! Shame!” the governor said.
The management of F Café and Bar, in a statement, denied the accusations hurled against them.
The restobar said everything was “fine and peaceful” when its security personnel noticed a commotion from some customers, including Atherton.
“A melee ensued and the natural reaction of security was to go between the parties to ensure that nobody got hurt and to pacify them. The manager, who just had an eye operation, also went to ensure that security was on top of the situation,” it said.
A closed-circuit television footage, it said, showed that it was Atherton who initiated the attack.
“While we try to ensure that everybody feels good in our establishments, we have no control over the actions of others. We deeply regret what happened to Chef Atherton and the other parties involved in the fracas,” the restobar said.
F Café and Bar said they were informed that the parties went to the police and the barangay, and settled everything among themselves.
“We were informed that the matter was closed. While we try to ensure that everybody feels good in our establishments, we have no control over the actions of others,” the management said.
“We would have preferred to remain silent about this matter as it is a private matter between parties that does not involve us, (but) recent attacks against the establishment and its employees have constrained us to issue this statement.”
According to Major Eraño Regidor, chief of the Mabolo police station, Atherton was keen on filing a case against his attackers for frustrated homicide and a violation of Republic Act 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.
Atherton is a renowned international chef and has a Michelin star which is one of the biggest achievements in the culinary industry. He has restaurants in London, Shanghai, Dubai, Mykonos and St. Moritz.
In 2011, he opened his own restaurant called Pollen Street Social which also received a Michelin star.
Atherton was married to a Cebuana and has three daughters.
Garcia said Atherton is a business partner for Pig and Palm, a high-end restaurant in Cebu City.