Police, not local execs, liable if security escorts exceed 2
Cebu City (14 January) -- Local chief executives maintaining more than two police security escorts will not be liable but the excess police escorts whose names have not been duly approved to render services as security personnel will be charged.
Commission on Elections (COMELEC-7) Assistant Regional Director Atty. Veronico Petalcorin clarified when asked whether local chief executives (LCEs) are accountable if he/she acquires more than the required number of two police security escorts as the election period takes effect last Sunday (June 10).
Under Comelec Resolution 8714, LCEs are strictly allowed only two security escorts unless the situation warrants more security escorts due to grave threats. In such a case, upon request and when the threat assessment warrants, the Committee on the Ban on Firearms and Security Personnel (CBFSP) may authorize the assignment of additional two protective agents as close-in security, this is learned.
"The local chief executive who acquires more than the two required number of police bodyguards without Comelec approval will not be liable but the police escorts whose names are not in the official Comelec list as the bodyguards of said local chief executive will be answerable," Petalcorin stressed during a recent police forum that tackled on the nationwide election gun ban.
Police personnel should know where their designated post is and if found that they are not in their assigned post or station because they opt to serve as security escorts of local chief executives, then they will be appropriately charged, according to Petalcorin.
Petalcorin also explained that security escorts are different from area security when asked if LCEs' request for police team security in a particular area constitutes a violation.
"We also have to understand that in case a particular local chief executive visits a specific town considered as rebel-infested then a request for police team security is necessary to ensure the safety of the said local chief executive," Petalcorin said.
Police Regional Office (PRO-7) Chief Gen. Lani-O Nerez in the same forum said all police bodyguards of LCEs have been recalled as is the case during the election period.
"Local chief executives or candidates however, may apply for security escorts to the Regional Joint Security Control Desks (R-JSCD) chaired by the Comelec Regional Director in the particular area when circumstances warrant including but not limited to threats to life and security. They need to pay a filing fee of P5,000 which will be deposited to the Land Bank," Nerez claimed.
Nerez said within five days of receipt of the application, the R-JSCD will refer the application with the threat assessment and recommendations to the CBFSP.
Until the application has been approved for the engagement of security personnel, the Comelec Regional Director can temporarily give a 30-day temporary permit for the acquisition of police security escorts to the local chief executive or candidate, Nerez explained. (PIA-Cebu/FCR) [top]