PNP to strictly enforce Comelec ban on maintenance, hiring of bodyguards -- Albayalde

January 16, 2019
Oscar D. Albayalde

PHILIPPINE National Police chief, Director General Oscar D. Albayalde yesterday said they are strictly enforcing the Commission on Election’s resolution banning candidates including incumbent officials from maintaining reaction forces or employing unauthorized bodyguards during the election period.

The PNP chief has ordered the recall of all policemen assigned as security personnel to candidates in the May polls and other VIPs in the wake of the nationwide 150-day gun ban that started last Sunday and will end on June 12.

All police officers previously assigned as bodyguards to VIPs including candidates have been recalled by their mother units. Candidates have to seek the permit of the Comelec before they are allowed to be given a maximum of two Protective Agents as bodyguards during the election period.

Gen. Albayalde said he has ordered his men to accost candidates who will be found having more than two armed bodyguards during the campaign period.

The order is in consonance with the Comelec rules and regulations on bearing, carrying or transporting firearms or other deadly weapons; security personnel or bodyguards; bearing arms by any member of security or police organization of government agencies and other similar organization; organization or maintenance of reaction forces during the election period.

The PNP chief  assured they will continue implementing President Duterte’s order for them to strictly follow the so-called ‘Alunan Doctrine’ which limits to only 2 the number of armed security personnel for politicians and other personalities during the May 13 mid-term national and local elections.

Since December 2016, the PNP has been under orders to fully enforce the ‘Alunan Doctrine’ despite strong opposition from affected personalities, the Journal Group learned yesterday.

The Alunan Doctrine was introduced by Rafael Alunan III who served as Department of Interior and Local Government  secretary during the Fidel V. Ramos presidency. Alunan was the one who initiated the vaunted PNP Oplan: Paglalansag which is police’s nationwide campaign against private armed groups and loose weapons.

Alunan said this “called for setting the rule that more than two armed men moving or assembling in a group constitute a private army that must be broken up and disarmed. It also called for the recovery of loose firearms throughout the country.”

Gen. Albayalde said apart from enforcing a nationwide gun ban from January  13 up to June 12 this year, they will also  strictly  implement the ban on the employment, availment or engagement of the services of security personnel or bodyguards during the election period.

The Omnibus Election Code says  during the election period, “no candidate for public office, including incumbent public officers seeking election to any public offices, shall employ, avail himself of or engage the services of security personnel or bodyguards, whether or not such bodyguards are regular members of the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines or other law enforcement agency of the government without any authority from the poll body.

However, Section 12 of the Omnibus Election Code defines the persons who are allowed to retain their security personnel or bodyguards. They include the  President, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Secretary of National Defense, Secretary of the Interior and Local Government, Chairman and Commissioners of the Commission on Elections, Chief of Staff of the AFP and AFP Major Service Commanders, and Director Generals and Senior Officers of the PNP.   Senators, Members of the House of Representatives and Provincial Governors, and Justices, Judges and Cabinet Secretaries, whose regular security complement have been provided by the PNP, AFP, NBI or other government law enforcement agencies for at least one  year at the time of the promulgation of this resolution, may be allowed to retain the services of a maximum of two  of the currently detailed officers or members of said law enforcement government agencies.

When circumstances warrant, including but not limited to threats to their life and security, the following persons may also be allowed to employ two (2) private security personnel or bodyguards from duly licensed private security service providers: Incumbent public officials, whether elected or appointed; Candidates or his/her immediate family within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity; and private individuals.