NBI-7 steps in in mauling of international chef
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia announced on Thursday, December 29 that they have asked the NBI-7 to shed light on the mauling in a restobar in Barangay Kasambagan, Cebu City of British chef Jason Atherton.
In particular, Garcia requested the national government’s investigating body to check and verify reports that F Cafe and Bar allegedly distributed edited and spliced videos to support their claims regarding the incident.
“I don’t know what they might do with the footages if you don’t step in. You have the capacity to see if there has been editing done and you also have the authority to issue a subpoena duces tecum,” Garcia said during a press conference broadcasted through Sugbo News, the Capitol’s media outlet.
The governor also revealed that the NBI-7 has issued a subpoena to the owner of F Cafe and Bar, compelling them to furnish investigators with closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage inside and within the vicinity of the establishment between 10 p.m. on December 23 and 2 a.m. on December 24.
“The NBI would know if the videos have been tampered with and edited. They have the forensic sciences to do that,” explained Garcia.
Shortly after Garcia conducted her press conference, F Cafe and Bar released another official statement. In it, the management vowed to cooperate with authorities, including providing copies of the CCTV footage.
They also said they would not be releasing CCTV footage other than to authorized investigators.
“On the issue of the fracas that occurred in the early morning (of) December 24, the management is cooperating with local authorities and local enforcement units in their investigations. It is therefore prudent that all evidence, including the CCTV footage, shall only be given to the investigating officers,” portions of their statement read.
During her briefer on Thursday, Garcia swiped at F Cafe and Bar’s first official statement since the melee involved Atherton and a group of men accused of sexually harassing his 17-year-old daughter.
The management denied accusations Garcia raised, alleging that some of their bouncers and a manager joined in the fight against Atherton, who sustained bruises around his eyes.
But the governor dismissed the restobar management’s claims.
“I will stand by my statement. Shame on you guys,” Garcia said.
Last December 24, in the early morning hours of Christmas Eve, a mauling incident took place within the premises of F Cafe and Bar.
It stemmed when Atherton asked a group of men to apologize to him for reportedly harassing his daughter.
The parties involved included Atherton, an internationally renowned chef and restaurateur who also has businesses here in Cebu.
Aside from NBI-7, the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) has also conducted an investigation on the matter, following the request of the Cebu City Government.
Atherton has already lodged formal complaints against the individuals who reportedly beat him up. /rcg
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