Garma protecting gambling lords?

CEBU. Reelectionist Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña and his running mate, City Councilor Mary Ann de los Santos, lead their group’s miting de avance before some 25,000 supporters at the Cebu City Sports Center on Sunday, May 5. (SunStar/Alan Tangcawan)

CEBU City Police Office (CCPO) Director Royina Garma allegedly received a weekly payola of P1 million from illegal gambling operators in Bohol during her stint as chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) 7.

The source of this information: a letter dated May 16, 2018 signed by Manuel Fraginal Sr., Nationwide Inter-Branch Security Monitoring Chief of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

The letter was addressed to Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año.

The same letter was read aloud by reelectionist Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña before thousands of their supporters who flocked to the Cebu City Sports Center on Sunday, May 4, to attend the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan’s (BOPK) miting de avance.

In his speech, Osmeña said someone gave him the documents that reportedly came from the National Police Commission, National Bureau of Investigation and the PCSO.

“In Central Visayas the LGU (local government unit) in Bohol Province has identified Police Superintendent Royina Marzan Garma of CIDG 7... She was with CIDG 7 that time, of receiving payola from illegal gambling operation financiers in the amount of around P1 million every week,” Osmeña said, quoting the documents.

“That’s what the documents say. She is suspected of receiving P1 million every week. That’s as CIDG chief and now she’s CCPO chief. It seems the picture is clearer now,” Osmeña continued.

Garma denied the mayor’s allegations, saying she was already CCPO chief when the reports surfaced in November last year.

“I was already relieved (as CIDG 7 Director) and that’s not an issue for me. No big deal. I did not receive anything,” she said.

“How about him? Ask him about the drug allegation against him, that’s more plausible. Let him open his campaign funds,” she added.

Garma said the accusations against her surfaced when reports that she would replace the general manager of PCSO came out.

“They kept on maligning my reputation last year. My conscience is clean, I did not receive anything,” she said.

In an interview at the sidelines of the event, the mayor said he just wanted to inform the people about what he knows.

“First thing is to just let the people know. What is happening to Cebu? It’s my job to report to the people. I’m supposed to protect the people so when I see a threat, they have to know,” he added.

BOPK’s miting de avance drew a crowd of some 25,000 participants, according to Fuente Police Chief Eduard Sanchez.

A lot of the supporters had to go through police checkpoints to reach the venue, which police officials said was part of their scheduled police activities.

At least 12 checkpoints were set up in major thoroughfares at the vicinity of the sports center starting at noon, or three hours before BOPK’s event started.

Sanchez denied the checkpoints were meant to discourage BOPK supporters from attending the campaign rally.

“The police are neutral. We don’t side with a party because we are only doing our job. Our main goal is peace and order,” he said.

Sanchez said the conduct of the checkpoint was orderly and the motorists understood the purpose of the checkpoint.

They caught three motorcycles for having expired licenses and for overloading.

On N. Bacalso St., the Sawang Calero Police Station flagged down 800 motorists in front of the Cebu South Bus Terminal.

Forty-seven temporary operator’s permit and 64 traffic citation tickets were issued for wearing slippers and not wearing the proper helmets.

Three motorcycles were also impounded for having expired registration.

The checkpoint started at noon and finished at 4 p.m.

As this developed, Osmeña said they might have to rely on the votes of their supporters in urban barangays following the strafing incidents in the mountain barangays.

He lamented that they are giving “consideration” to their supporters in the mountains to keep them safe as things continue to heat up ahead of the May 13 polls.

“We told them that if they can’t handle it, it’s okay. I don’t want them to get hurt. I don’t want them to be in danger. I feel like I have to do something and we will do something. I don’t know, maybe they want to terrify me,” he told reporters. (RTF, JOB)


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