The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Wednesday reiterated that candidates who need protection during the election campaign will be provided a maximum of only two security personnel.
“The candidates will be allowed a maximum of two. According to the President, we will follow the Alunan doctrine here and in uniform. Now, if you are going into a critical area or an area where you think you will be conducting an information campaign where it’s massive, where there are a lot of people, we will allow them to coordinate with the local police for the local police to provide area security,” PNP Chief, Director General Oscar Albayalde, told reporters.
Albayalde also shrugged off allegations that the PNP favors certain candidates in providing security detail.
“This is the problem with all candidates. When one sees that there are many policemen in an event, they will complain that the PNP is favoring their opponent. That is provision of security for the whole crowd, audience, perimeter security for the maintenance of peace and order there,” he said.
The PNP chief also noted that the killing of Ako-Bicol Partylist Rep. Rodel Batocabe would have been prevented if policemen were deployed to the area where the crime occurred.
“Our policemen are not limited to providing security to critical areas visited by a candidate. That is why we go back to the Batocabe case. If they just coordinated with us and the policemen were there, it would not have happened. There were no policemen there and at that time. But there was no coordination and it happened despite the fact that he has a security detail,” he noted.
Albayalde said local police can ask for augmentation coming from the respective provincial or regional mobile group or even from the military, in case of simultaneous events.
Earlier, PNP spokesperson, Chief Supt. Benigno Durana Jr., said poll bets requesting for police security should comply with the requirements set by the PNP, which includes an assessment to determine if there is indeed a threat to their lives.
“If they want to have more, then they have to hire the services of security agencies at their own expenses,” he added.
Durana said the PNP will also provide security services for non-incumbent candidates who may qualify for protective security detail.
Albayalde earlier ordered all police commanders down to the municipal level to talk with all the candidates, including the incumbent officials, as part of the threat assessment amid the spate of killings of local government officials.
The PNP also continues to monitor 77 active private armed groups (PAGs) with 2,060 members that have 1,574 firearms, and is keeping an eye on 226 inactive armed groups with 2,028 members and more than 1,000 firearms.
Albayalde earlier directed all territorial units to go “hammer and tongs” against gun-for-hire syndicates and PAGs, as the number of attacks against local officials and candidates tend to increase ahead of the elections. (PNA/Christopher Lloyd Caliwan)