The Marcelo ‘Bogart’ Garbo I know
Of the five police generals linked by President Digong to the illegal drug trade, retired Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo stands out not only because he is the highest-ranking (three stars) but also because he was a disciplinarian when he was still in the service.
Several friends and I know Bogart—that’s his nickname—as a morally upright man.
But then, Mano Digong must have dug deep into Bogart’s background with all the resources at his command.
And so right now, I’m withholding judgment on whether the President was right or wrong in implicating Garbo in the narcotics trade.
Bogart didn’t tolerate indiscipline among his subordinates when he was director of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO).
He immediately acted on complaints against abuses committed by Metro Manila policemen against civilians when he was NCRPO chief.
My program, “Isumbong Mo Kay Tulfo,” was witness to Bogart being a stickler for right conduct.
He was always accessible to aggrieved ordinary citizens whom we accompanied either to his office at Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan or to Camp Crame when he was later appointed PNP deputy director for administration.
I once told him during lunch that if he became PNP chief the police organization would become very disciplined because he was very strict.
If he was strict to his men, he was harsh to criminals in areas where he was assigned, according to his subordinates and people who know him.
I am not defending Bogart from President Digong’s accusations that he coddled drug lords, because I don’t have all the resources the Chief Executive has.
I’m writing this piece as I know Bogart from my dealings with him as a columnist and host of Isumbong; he was a professional.
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If Bogart did what the President accuses him of, then he should be punished severely.
Nobody should be spared in the fight against illegal drugs and criminality.
But if he’s found innocent later on, then apologies to him are in order.
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In the war on drugs, places of worship should not be held sacred if they protect or coddle drug pushers and dealers.
God’s name should not be invoked in criminal activities.
Illegal drugs are sold openly in some places of worship, according to intelligence reports.
The reason these “houses of God” are spared is that the government tries to avoid accusations of religious persecution.
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Vice President Leni Robredo found President Digong to be “kind and warm” when both met in Malacañang on Monday.
Although Ms Robredo said she was not offered a post in his Cabinet, Mano Digong asked her to visit him often and help him run the country.
If she sees the President frequently, she’ll come to like him as other people who once disliked Digong were won over by his charm and sincerity.
Who knows, the President and Vice President might even become very close friends.