By Martin Sadongdong
The Philippine National Police (PNP) advised the candidates for the May 2019 midterm elections to coordinate with local authorities should they need additional security during their campaign sorties. Candidates will only be allowed a maximum of two police escorts during the campaign period.
PNP chief, Director General Oscar Albayalde said President Duterte ordered him to implement the “Alunan Doctrine” which states that only two police escorts shall be assigned to VIPs, including politicians, for the elections.
“The candidates will be allowed a maximum of two [escorts]. The President told me to follow the Alunan Doctrine and the [escorts] should be in uniform,” he said.
“Now, if you are going to a critical area where you think you will be conducting a massive information campaign, we allow them to coordinate with the local police to provide area security,” he added.
However, Albayalde revealed that sometimes, rival politicians seem to misinterpret the PNP protocol regarding this measure.
“This is what happens: sometimes, if a candidate sees that there are more policemen assigned to secure an event for his political opponent, he would complain that the chief of police is favoring his rival. I’d like to assure you that we are not tolerating electioneering, we are not favoring any candidate here,” Albayalde said.
He said a sizeable force is usually deployed during an information campaign to secure not only the politicians but also the crowd.
In cases where politicians have all asked the local police for assistance at the same time, Albayalde said the chief of police can ask for augmentation forces from the provincial and regional mobile group, or even from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Albayalde earlier ordered the Police Security and Protection Group (PNP-PSPG) to recall a total of 457 police bodyguards assigned to all barangay councilors up to senators on January 13, the start of election period.
The campaign period is from February 12 to May 12, while the Election Day is on May 13.
Albayalde said politicians who have received serious life threats can appeal to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and apply for a Certificate of Authority for Security Detail.