Marcelo Garbo is one of the five active and retired high ranking police officials tagged by President Rodrigo Duterte of being involved in the national drug trade. Just last year, Garbo was considered a leading contender to be the Chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
That was after then-Director General Alan Purisima was eased out of his position following allegations of undeclared properties and his unauthorized involvement in the police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao despite him being under preventive suspension.
According to a June 2015 article from Rappler, Garbo was one of the finalists for the job together with Ricardo Marquez and Danilo Constantino. Garbo at that time was the Deputy Chief for Operations while Constantino was the Chief of Directorial Staff. Marquez, who eventually got the appointment, led the Directorate for Operations at the time. The three men were separately interviewed by then-President Benigno Aquino III for the job for about an hour.
Garbo earned high marks within the Aquino administration as director for Region VII (Central Visayas) after his successful implementation of the suspension order against Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia last January 2013. His promotion as director of the National Capital Region Police Office was widely seen as a reward for that.
Despite the tough competition, Marquez had two cards on his sleeve: his successful handling of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Visit to the Philippines as well as the fact that he won’t retire until after the May 2016 elections. As a consolation, Garbo was promoted Deputy Chief for Administration, the number two job within PNP. He held that post until his retirement last March.
After his retirement, Garbo aligned himself with the camp of former Interior Secretary and presidential candidate Mar Roxas, his former boss. Just a month before the elections, Garbo attracted controversy after he was spotted by journalists having a confidential meeting with active police generals in Novotel Hotel in Quezon City, which is just several blocks away from Roxas’ campaign headquarters.