MANILA, Philippines – General Oscar Albayalde, head of the Philippine National Police, has ordered the director of the Luzon Central Brigade. General Joel Coronel, to return four of the 15 police security escorts taken from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino.
Albayalde said having 15 police security escorts "was not normal" and was a departure from student doctrine – a policy set by former Interior Secretary Rafael Alunan III during the Ramos administration, which states that three or more bodyguards would be considered a private army.
Based on student doctrine, the four police escorts returned to Aquinas still constitute a private army.
The doctrine, revived by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016, was intended to end the proliferation of private armies and loose firearms.
In an interview after Monday's ceremonial shift from the Philippine National Police Academy's PNP College of Public Security in Cavite, Albayalde said the return of Aquino's security escorts was temporary only until after police from Police Protection and Security Group (PSPG) were assigned to the head of the PDEA.
He noted that sending 15 police security escorts from the Central Luzon mobile group to Aquino was also a temporary agreement, noting that only PNP PSPG is allowed to designate police personnel for VIP protection.
What Aquino was asking, he said, was that all of his 15 security escorts be transferred to the PSPG, which would mean the Central Luzon police office would lose 15 men from its regional mobile group.
Albayalde said the issue needed to be discussed with Colonel, who was preparing for the Southeast Asian games in November, when thousands of police were needed to secure the athletes and the different venues.
According to the PNP chief, the PDEA had its own men – some of them fully trained retired military and police – who could be summoned as security escorts.
"In other VIPs, we are very strict in implementing the student doctrine, but here we are already offering courtesy," said Albayalde.
"Not least that the president has a directive that we strictly follow student doctrine," Albayalde said, adding that even he as head of the PNP has only two security escorts.
He, however, said there was no law violated in sending many police security escorts and added that he was not aware of the agreement made by the predecessor of Colonel and Aquino.
But Senator Richard Gordon scolded the PNP for justifying the recall of Aquino's security details, saying it was a "retaliatory" action in connection with the "ninja cop" controversy.
"This is silly!" Gordon told reporters on Monday when asked about the PNP explanation that he withdrew police escorts from Aquino to increase security staff at the Southeast Asian Games to be held in Central Luzon from November 30 to December 11. .
He said the PNP informed him that the PDEA chief's security escorts will be re-established soon.
"[The PNP] said they would bring back [Aquino’s security detail] Why [the recall] It was only temporary. But the timing is bad. Why would they remove the [police escorts] at this time? "he said.
“There are so many cops. Why would you remove his country's No. 1 drug dealer? This will put you in a very dangerous situation, ”said the senator.
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