AFP, PNP senior officials spotted at LP meeting venue
A group of active and retired senior officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) were seen Saturday in Novotel Manila at the Araneta Center.
Some of them were spotted inside a meeting room with a personality identified with the camp of Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Mar Roxas.
The Inquirer first saw retired Lieutenant Gen. Rey Ardo, former chief of the western Mindanao command (Westmincom) around 9 a.m., engaging in banter with some of the Mindanao-based journalists.
Ardo was silent when asked if he was attending a meeting of the Joint Normalization Committee (JNC), a joint body of the Bangsamoro peace process for which he represents government.
Retired Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo was later seen coming out of the same room Ardo earlier entered.
Around noontime, Major Gen. Oscar Lactao, newly appointed Inspector General of the AFP, was seen chatting with two men at the lobby of the hotel.
Lactao is erstwhile commanding general of the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division based in Cagayan de Oro. The command covers northern Mindanao and the Caraga region.
The presence of Ardo first caught the attention of journalists who are participating in a two-day training of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) held at a room just across their meeting room.
Other journalists in the training also identified other PNP officers sighted in the hotel. They are Chief Supt. Bernardo Diaz, regional director of Western Visayas; Chief Supt. Ronald Santos, deputy regional director for administration of PNP-4; Chief Supt. Ranier Idio, regional director of Cagayan Valley; and Chief Supt. Generoso Cerbo, PNP intelligence chief.
The Manila-based reporters in the CMFR training identified the person linked to Roxas only as “Thea” who was seen inside the meeting room of the hotel where Ardo entered and Garbo went out from.
The meeting of the generals was held in the Cezanne Room at the third floor of Novotel Manila.
Waiters were not allowed to enter the room to serve food, water or coffee. Instead, these were passed through a lady ‘gatekeeper.’ At one time, the lady dropped a plate.
When one curious journalist tried to peek into the Cezanne Room, the lady ‘gatekeeper’ turned her away, saying the meeting was “confidential.”
When asked, several of the waiters who serviced the Cezanne Room function said the meeting was that of LP. JE
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