Abusive Garin father and son

Left: Guimbal Mayor Oca Garin; Right: Iloilo First District Representative Richard Garin
Left: Guimbal Mayor Oca Garin; Right: Iloilo First District Representative Richard Garin

“I believe the root of all evil is abuse of power.”–Patricia Cornwell

NEW YORK CITY — I salute Regional Police Office 6 (RPO-6) Director John Bulalacao for throwing is support behind Police Officer 3 Federico Macaya Jr. of the Guimbal Police Station in Guimbal, Iloilo in the Philippines.

I also laud Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Director General Oscar Albayalde for ordering Bulalacao to recall the police escorts of loilo First District Rep. Oscar “Richard” Garin Jr. and to file criminal cases against Garin and his father, Guimbal Mayor Oscar “Oca” Sr.

The decision came after Rep. Richard reportedly mauled Macaya after placing a cuff on the cop’s hands before dawn December 26, 2018 near the town hall while the father Garin was reportedly holding a .45 caliber.

The PNP, Bulalacao said, felt insulted that one of the organization’s men was attacked by the politician while in uniform.

The Garins were reportedly mad at Macaya for the non-filing of charges against one of the two protagonists in a town plaza rumble on December 22, 2018 involving Virgil Gegato and Noel Gicana.

Gegato, son of a town councilor, reportedly hit Gicana with an empty bottle during the melee.

Macaya insisted “he did not interfere” when Gegato and Gicana “agreed” to settle the feud. Gegato allegedly paid Gicana P1,500 for the hospital bills.

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It was not the first time that Rep. Garin mauled a cop.

Several years back when he was the mayor of Guimbal, he also kicked and manhandled a lowly cop who failed to immediately respond to a police call.

The only difference is, father Oca, who was the congressman at that time, did not agree with his then mayor son’s sadistic method.

Because the Garins were (and are still until today) so powerful and influential, the case has been forgotten after the victim cop did not press charges against then Mayor Richard.

Between the father and son, it’s the father who was known reportedly to easily lose his cool and bark at people he didn’t like when he was mad.

It’s not a joke to tangle with the father and son Garin physically, especially when they are surrounded by bodyguards–and were carrying firearms.

Both are tall and heavyweights and most of their victims were lightweights.

Father and son could easily turn any tough guy into a marshmallow if he makes a mistake of fighting back in a physical confrontation with the lords of Guimbal.

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As editor of a daily newspaper in the 90’s, I always criticized the Garins but I didn’t lower my guard when I was in front of any of them in various occasions or in press conferences.

I also wrote some favorable articles about them in the past, but most of my articles were something narcissistic politicians like the patriarch Oca would never dare retain in the memory.

Rep. Richard actually is a friend.

He regularly tagged me with interesting topics on Facebook, and I find him to be soft-spoken and someone who loves to converse with any ordinary person.

I greeted and approached him evening on March 12, 2010 in the lobby of the Gaylord Texan Hotel in Arlington, Texas where he was waiting for someone to give his pass in the Pacquiao vs Clottey WBO welterweight fight the following day.

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My friend, Dr. Allan Recto, a Texas-based pediatrician, speaks highly of Rep. Richard.

When President Estrada visited Bacolod City in Octobr 1999, then Guimbal Mayor Richard invited me to stay with him in a hotel overnight.

His wife, former Health Secretary Janette Loreto-Garin, used to call me “my good friend” when she spotted me in the audience in the conferences where she was the invited speaker.

I have no bad blood with the Garins; I even support Rep. Richard’s quest to help clear Secretary Janette’s name in the Dengvaxia imbroglio–until now.

But what he did to Macaya really disturbed me as a journalist.

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I don’t know Macaya from Adam, but I feel it’s a moral obligation as a journalist to ferret out the truth and remind public officials like the Garins that power is not a privilege; that no matter what positions they acquire in society, they aren’t above the law; that they have to behave and live by the standards expected of them as high elected officials.

Most importantly, the cops–or any ordinary person in Guimbal or anywhere else-for that matter, also have human rights and dignity.

Macaya, as a police officer, is a person in authority who did not even have a personal grudge against him or any of his family members.

But he allegedly spat at Macaya’s face after kicking the hapless cop on the face three times while the cop was manacled.

Has power–absolute power–gone to Rep. Richard’s head?

He is not the Richard Garin that I know, if Macaya is telling the truth.