Cebu City

Owner of controversial Cebu bar faces anti-dummy complaints

John Sitchon

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Owner of controversial Cebu bar faces anti-dummy complaints

BAR. In June 2021, the F Cafe & Bar caught flak on social media for breaking multiple health protocols during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

F Cafe & Bar's Facebook

NBI accuses the owner of Cebu City's F Cafe & Bar of violating the Anti-Dummy Law. It is the same bar where an international chef was mauled on Christmas Eve.

CEBU, Philippines – The National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas (NBI-7) said on Wednesday, February 15, it was suing for alleged violation of the Anti-Dummy Law the owner of the controversial F Cafe & Bar.

The NBI was investigating the brawl that happened in the bar on Christmas Eve when it also found out that the owner of the establishment, a Fairuz Abdullah Lee, was a Singapore national and was in the Philippines on a tourist visa.

The incident at the F Cafe & Bar on December 24 created a stir after British international chef Jason Atherton claimed he was mauled at that time by unidentified men. The row gained more controversy when Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia intervened on behalf of Atherton.

On December 28, Atherton filed a complaint with the NBI against his attackers. The Briton also accused the disc jockey of the bar as allegedly shouting a death threat at this family that night.

NBI-7 Regional Director Rennan Oliva told reporters in a livestreamed press conference that they have already talked with the owners of the establishment and the suspects of the incident.

How it happened

The NBI’s executive summary said that what ignited the fracas was when a certain Butch Prieto Soreño allegedly made a pass at Atherton’s daughter, who was a minor. The girl was queueing for the lady’s restroom when she was allegedly propositioned.

The NBI report identified Soreño as an administrative officer of the Bureau of Customs at the Port of Iligan City. 

An enraged Atherton then confronted Soreño. A fight broke out and four men then backed up Soreño. They were identified in the NBI report as Iñaki Ramon Bernedo Ibarlucea, Jericho Leonardi Porras Bolongan, Richard Doncillo Cervantes, and Douglas Cervantes.

On February 3, NBI-7 filed complaints for violation of Republic Act 7610 (Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination Act), Republic Act 11313 (Safe Spaces Act), Article 265 of the Revised Penal Code (Less Serious Physical Injury), and Article 8 of the Revised Penal Code (conspiracy) against Soreño and the 4 other involv.

Later, NBI-7 also filed a complaint for child abuse against Neil Versoza Pepito, the disc jockey. A separate complaint was added against Soreño for misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service before the Office of the Ombudsman in Central Visayas.

Not a citizen

“It was found that during the course of the investigation that Fairuz Abdullah Lee aka Francis Lee, the owner of F bar, is a Singaporean national and is merely a holder of a tourist visa,” said a statement by the NBI.

With only a tourist visa, NBI-7 said Lee is prohibited from doing business in the Philippines. “Especially for a type of business reserved only for Filipino citizens, such as restaurants/bar and/or salons,” it said.

It was also found during the investigation that Lee was the owner of Bridges Salon, a beauty salon found in the same location as F Cafe & Bar.

Rappler has reached out for a comment from the establishment but it declined. –

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