By Jeline Malasig
Senatorial aspirant Glenn Chong had numerous police escorts while visiting Iligan City but the Philippine National Police only allows two personnel for each candidate unless a serious threat is observed.
Members of the PNP-Police Regional 10 Office escorted Chong in his visit on motorcycles and marked vehicles with blinking sirens.
The lawyer praised the tight security arranged for him, but some social media users raised questions over its necessity.
PNP spokesperson Senior Superintendent Bernard Banac previously reminded candidates of the 2019 midterm elections that they should only have a maximum of two security escorts from state authorities.
Those caught with three or more escorts will have to face criminal charges or probable disqualification, according to rules of Commission of Elections.
If a candidate’s life has been threatened, however, he may appeal for additional security detail to the Comelec.
The request would only be approved after the election-governing body has deemed it valid and once a thorough threat assessment has been conducted.
Rules on securing escorts
According to Comelec’s Resolution 10446, candidates running for public office can only secure escorts from the PNP, the Armed Forces of the Philippines or any other law enforcement agency of the government.
It is a preventive measure done to contain any election-related violence, particularly during the campaign season when candidates would visit various areas to present their platforms to voters.
The resolution also states that a candidate can only have two security escorts unless “threats to life and security” have been detected and assessed. However, it did not mention any particular cases or instances.
The case of Glenn Chong
The senatorial aspirant’s security aide, Richard Santillan, was killed in December 2018, two weeks after Chong submitted his certificate of candidacy as a substitute for Rosita Caringal Imperial of the Katipunan ng Demokratikong Pilipino.
Chong believed that his aide’s killing was connected with his decision to run as a senator.
“Nagfile po ako ng COC (certificate of candidacy) for senator on November 26 (2018) by substitution. The next Monday, exactly 2 weeks to the date ‘yun po pagkamatay ni Richard Santillan. It’s connected with my COC,” he said in an interview before.
Santillan was killed in a shootout in Cainta, Rizal on December 10 after PNP suspected that he was part of the “Highway Boys,” a syndicate allegedly involved in robbery, illegal drugs and murder.
Chong, however, said that his aide was on his way to distribute gifts to children at that time.
Nineteen members of the Calabarzon police have since been dismissed from their post following the shootout. – interaksyon.com