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New PNP chief fumes over empty SWAT office

/ 08:13 AM October 04, 2011

An empty police office, and a messy one at that, is enough to get a chief in trouble.

Especially if his new boss drops in unannounced.

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That’s what happened yesterday to the  Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) office in Mandaue City when the newly installed regional director of the Police Regional Office-7 (PRO), Chief Supt. Marcelo Garbo, made a surprise visit.

“This is a disgrace to the police force,” Garbo said, “especially for the donor or sponsor, who is the mayor, because he gave us the office, then the Park Mall owner and to our clients who are  the community.”

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Immediately after that, Insp. Diosdado Malazarte, SWAT chief for the past six months, was relieved from his post and as deputy chief of the Subangdaku police station pending investigation.

Garbo  also asked for an inventory of unsolved crimes in Mandaue City and demanded solutions.

“My job is to pound on these people to do their job. My job is not to solve cases,” said Garbo.

“These cases must be solved lower down by the provincial and city directors. Yun ang doctrina ko but then again I’m answerable to you by command responsibility,” Garbo said.

Two high-profile cases remain unsolved with no charges filed or suspects arrested.

Businessman Antonio Ouano, who belongs to one of Mandaue’s wealthiest families, was gunned down in his Toyota Hilux last July 22 while driving to a court hearing.  It was raining heavily when he was shot dead on a road in the Mandaue Reclamation Area.

Businesswoman Irish Marie Hugo Gonzales was shot dead in her Starex van last Sept. 17 after picking up two companions from the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in Mandaue. She was ambushed past 6 p.m., during peak traffic on a Friday night,  just 500 meters from the Mandaue police headquarters.

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In both cases, the gunmen were riding motorbikes and attacked their targets in public roads.  Police said they were guns for hire.

Senior Supt. Noel Gillamac, Mandaue police chief, said  the incidents was a warning to station chiefs to manage their units well.

After an award ceremony in PRO-7 headquarters, Garbo headed for the Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO) to attend a back-to-basics training program.

But first he dropped by the SWAT office of Mandaue located in Park Mall. He walked in and found it empty except for a crime watch volunteer named “Banging.”

Garbo said the office was “not presentable” to the public, especially women.

“Our clients who are the public deserve an environment where you can sit and tell the police your complaints.”

He was prompted  to visit by his earlier chat with Mandaue Mayor Jonas Cortes, who proudly told him about the city’s support for policemen especially the local SWAT.

On the unsolved murders, Senior Supt. Gillamac said the Mandaue police have developments in the investigation of the two ambushes of Ouano and Gonzales but declined to  give details. He said the head of task force is now Supt. Jason Lawas Capoy, deputy city director for operation

Malazarte, the relieved SWAT chief, tried to explain his office’s situation.

He told Cebu Daily News  he was on mandatory leave since Sept. 27 up to yesterday.

He said his men were on roving patrols in the city for constant monitoring, which he would join from time to time. The SWAT office has only two rooms, one for equipment, the other for an office.

As to the sight of their uniforms hanging in full view,  Malazarte said they have nowhere else to put them. /Jucell Marie P. Cuyos, Reporter

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TAGS: Marcelo Garbo, Police, Special Weapons and Tactics
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