NBI 7 starts probe on chef’s mauling

THE National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas (NBI 7) has summoned the owner of F. Café and Bar to an investigation over the bar’s alleged involvement in the mauling of an international chef early morning of Dec. 24, 2022.

This after Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia sought the help of the NBI and gather all closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage in the area to get to the bottom of the incident which involved British chef and restaurateur Jason Atherton.

In a press conference on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022, Garcia expressed anger and dismay with the management of the restobar after the Michelin star chef was reportedly mauled by the bar’s personnel.

According to Garcia, some of the workers of the restobar allegedly held Atherton so he “couldn’t fight back,” while he was mauled by another group of men identified as personnel of the bar.

“I am responsible for Cebu. I am responsible for the image and reputation of Cebu and I will fulfill my duty as governor of this beloved island of Cebu,” Garcia said.

In an official statement posted on FB, the management said that they are one with the Governor in “ensuring that Cebu stands out, as a safe haven for foreigners, tourists, and locals of all nationalities and cultures. We join Gov. Gwen in recognizing and protecting the integrity and good name of Cebu as a welcome destination for foreign visitors, and that this incident is isolated and unfortunate.”

The NBI 7 had issued a subpoena to the bar’s management and ordered it to bring CCTV footage taken from the night of December 23 till dawn of December 24.

Garcia said although the incident happened in Cebu City, it is her duty as governor to protect the reputation of Cebu especially before tourists and visitors.

“So my beloved Cebuanos, beloved Filipinos and to all foreigners from other countries that may plan to come and visit Cebu, rest assured that if any injustice were to be committed against you even outside the jurisdiction of the province of Cebu, I will stand by you,” said Garcia.

Meanwhile, investigators from the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) are also set to meet with the owners and managers of the bar on Friday afternoon, Dec. 30 to shed light on the incident.

Atherton had gone to Mabolo Police Station on Wednesday morning, Dec. 28, together with his business partner to pursue the filing of a frustrated homicide case based on the advice of his lawyer as one of the perpetrators was holding a bottle.

Apart from frustrated homicide, Atherton will also file child abuse charges against some of the restobar’s personnel as his daughter, who is a minor, was allegedly harassed prior to the commotion.

Mabolo Police Station Chief Major Eraño Regidor said they are awaiting CCTV footage from the restobar aside from the video of the commotion posted on social media, which they will use as evidence.

For his part, CCPO Director Col. Ireneo Dalogdog said they will invite Vice Mayor Raymond Garcia, Councilor Philip Zafra, chairman of the committee and peace and order, and officials of the Business Permit and Licensing Office to a meeting to discuss certain measures such as requiring business establishments in the city to install CCTV cameras and deploy blue guards to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

“We will have a dialogue and one of the requirements for business establishments is that they must have CCTV installed so that when similar incidents occur, we can easily see who is responsible,” Dalogdog said in Cebuano. (AYB / TPT)