By Octavio Gildo, Attorney, City of Puerto Vallarta
1. OAATRE (Oficina de Asistencia y Ayuda al Turista y Residente Extranjero/Office of Legal Assistance to Tourists and Foreign Residents) located in Parque Lázaro Cárdenas, in Olas Altas Tel 222-2224. Opened exclusively by this administration to provide legal assistance. The help provided by this office is quite effective when expats have a problem with local service providers: tours, restaurants, and abusive landlords. Originally it was going to be legal help all the way (civil & criminal) but in practice, the city has turned away from this responsibility as it can be a costly and lengthy process.
2. Oficina de Asuntos internos: (Office of Internal Affairs). Expats can come directly and file their complaint in this office when faced with a problem with the local police. This is a mandatory internal office the police department must have in order to discipline its members for wrongdoing. However, in Vallarta, it no longer reports nor belongs to the police department. It reports to the Legal Department (Dirección Jurídica 225-8080 x 1201). When a complaint is filed by any person, an investigation starts and policemen get either a warning, a suspension from work, or fired. The Ministerio Público gets notified if it is determined that a felony or crime was committed by the member of the police.
3. Extra Help, Octavio Gildo: I am originally from this area but grew up in the United States where I spent 30 years of my life. I am also a US citizen and a graduate of Golden Gate University in San Francisco with a BS in Hotel and Restaurant Management. I made a very successful career in the Food Service Industry in northern Ca, Bay Area and El Paso, Texas. Upon returning to PV in 2009, I took to study Mexican law at Arkos University and graduated with the highest GPA. I joined this administration as Head of The Police Academy for a while, then OAATRE, and currently at Asuntos Internos. Now, when expats are faced with a simple issue, key words to throw at policemen are “Asuntos Internos ” along with my name, feel free to post my number as well, as most policemen know me. If it is a more serious issue, they can either call me right then on my cel 322-173-4148 or come to see me at Asuntos Internos located in Edificio UMA, all Mexicans know the location in Colonia Portales (going north, turn right at the La Paloma bull ring and make another right when the road turns into a three way option.
When I became a citizen of the US I pledged to help fellow Americans wherever I was so here I am. I go back to the States at least once a year as the great majority of my family, including parents are now citizens of the US and live there.