‘If it were political, we should’ve met in Balay,’ says retired general Marcelo Garbo, referring to the campaign headquarters of Mar Roxas in Cubao
MANILA, Philippines – Two police generals seen in the same hotel where staff members and supporters of Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II were meeting downplayed their presence there, insisting they were in the hotel for personal reasons.
Media reports over the weekend said several active-duty police generals were spotted last Saturday, April 2, at the Novotel Manila at the Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City. A stone’s throw away is “Balay,” the campaign headquarters of Roxas and the Liberal Party.
The 4 Philippine National Police (PNP) generals hold plum posts: one is the chief of the intelligence staff of the PNP (Director Generoso Cerbo Jr); 2 are regional directors (Chief Supt Renier Ido of Cagayan Valley and Chief Supt Bernardo Diaz of Western Visayas); and another is the deputy regional director of the vote-rich Calabarzon region (Chief Supt Ronaldo Santos).
They are all 1984 graduates of the Philippine Military Academy. PMA Class 1984 (Maharlika) has Roxas as its “adopted member.”
On the same day that they met in Novotel with Garbo, supporters and staff members of the Roxas campaign – including Garbo and other retired officials – also met in the same hotel, but on a different floor.
The PNP on Monday asked the 4 to send a formal explanation of why they were there.
Garbo: Roxas’ ally
“I was there because of Garbo. He had private matters that he needed from me. There was nothing political in our discussion,” Cerbo told Rappler in a phone interview.
Garbo, who retired from the service in March, said he met with the PMA ’84 generals to talk business. The retired 3-star general told Rappler he has plans of putting up a consultancy firm.
Still, Garbo admitted he’s “helping” the ruling LP “in my personal capacity.”
Garbo said he recently travelled to Cebu to attend the kick-off rallies of local bets there, including gubernatorial bet and incumbent governor Hilario Davide III. “Si Mar Roxas, definitely I’ll help him. Pero wala kaming usapan (But there’s no deal between us),” said Garbo.
The 3-star general was once reportedly eyed to be chief of the PNP and was even interviewed for the post. Roxas reportedly backed his try. But President Benigno Aquino III eventually picked now PNP chief Director General Ricardo Marquez.
Santos, who is currently assigned in the regional police command overseeing police operations in Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon, said the Saturday meeting was nothing more than a gathering of PMA mistahs (classmates).
“It’s not political,” Garbo insisted. “Kung political lang eh di dapat sa Balay na lang kami (If it were political, we should’ve met in Balay),” he added, referring to the LP headquarters near Novotel.
Active officers are not allowed to meddle in politics, a reminder the PNP leadership has made repeatedly.
The Cubao complex is owned by the family of Roxas’ mother, Judy Araneta Roxas./ Rappler.com