NEXT to members of the Presidential Security Group tasked to protect the President and his family, agents of the Police Security and Protection Group are literally in the line of fire and under constant threat from assassins wanting to kill the personalities they are guarding in every opportunity.
This was proven anew last December 22 when PSPG agent, Senior Police Officer 2 Orlando Diaz, was killed while securing the late AKO Bicol party-list Representative Rodel Batocabe. The PSPG agent suffered at least 6 gunshot wounds in the body and died on the spot.
He became the latest PSPG member who was either killed or wounded while on official duty. His killing came weeks after Batocabe announced his intention to seek the mayoralty post of Daraga, Albay last August.
The greatest consolation the late SPO2 Diaz and his family have right now is that 6 prime suspects and a key witness in the Daraga gun attack are now in police custody after 2 more yielded to authorities last week.
According to PNP chief, Director General Oscar D. Albayalde, suspect Rolando Arimado alias ‘RR’ surrendered to the police in Masbate at 7 a.m. last Saturday while Danilo Muella alias ‘Manoy Dan’ yielded in Bicol past midnight Friday.
“This latest development is expected to complete the puzzle in uncovering the truth behind this double murder and multiple frustrated murder case.” the PNP chief said.
Apart from Arimado and Muella, 4 other prime suspects identified as Christopher Naval alias ‘Tuping,’ Emmanuel Rosello alias ‘Boboy,’ Henry Yuson alias ‘Romel’ and Jaywin Babor alias ‘Gie’ are already under police custody.
A key witness, Emanuel Bonita Judavar has provided investigators with relevant information regarding the case from planning to execution stages, the country’s top cop said. Yuson was tagged as the gunman who shot Batocabe dead.
“With the gunman in custody, we now have an airtight case that we will present in court to ensure successful prosecution of all accused,” Gen. Albayalde said.
However, although they are supposed to stay alert at all times apart from getting regular training, the PNP has reiterated anew a directive for all Protective Security Personnel from the PSPG not to tolerate the wrong habits and particularly the unlawful orders of VIPs under their protection. At present, at least 327 PSPG personnel are assigned to guard 206 protectees nationwide. These VIPs include Vice President Leni Robredo, 8 senators, 4 department secretaries, 7 Cabinet level officials, 72 members of the House of Representatives, 5 local chief executives, 6 members of the judiciary and 12 other government officials.
Add to the list 61 retired police and military generals, 8 victims of crimes and/or their relatives, 3 former government officials, 3 former presidents and 14 other persons whose lives are under threat.
Gen. Albayalde has also ordered PSPG director, Chief Superintendent Filmore B. Escobal to strictly study the application for security protection of private citizens in the country to prevent a repetition of embarrassing incidents in the past.
Escobal said they are also evaluating the assignment of PSPG personnel to civilians including rich businessmen since they don’t want a repeat of an incident in which two PSPG agents were found to be acting as bodyguards of a daughter of jailed suspected female drug lord Yu Yuk Lai.
At present, a PSPG agent’s detail order is being renewed every month. However, the private citizen being protected should be able to prove that there is an existing threat to his/her life, the validation being conducted by the PNP Directorate for Intelligence.
The strict validation is being conducted and approved by PNP-DI head, Director Gregorio R. Pimentel and Gen. Albayalde -- both a requisite for the granting of a protective detail in order to ensure that only those qualified due to threats on their lives can be assigned a PSPG bodyguard, not rich persons with links to drugs and other criminal activities but who feel they can get some respect if they go around with PSPG men guarding them.
In November 2017, then PNP chief, Gen. Ronald ‘Bato’ M. dela Rosa said he would recommend the immediate dismissal of two police officers found to have been assigned to protect a daughter of convicted drug queen Yu Yuk Lai if it would be proven they were involved in her alleged illegal drug activities.
That incident prompted the PSPG to recall all its men securing 400 private individuals and some 300 government officials. An investigation showed then that one of the two PSPG men had been assigned to Yu Yuk Lai’s daughter Diana Uy since 2010 or four years after she and another sibling were kidnapped while the 2nd had been her security detail since 2013.
One of the PSPG agents was on duty when officers of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency raided Uy’s residence on November 6, 2017 and confiscated some P15 million worth of suspected shabu.
It turned out that the two PSPG men did not report to their superiors that their protectee is visiting her mother who is detained at the Correctional Institute for Women. Yu Yuk Lai’s cell yielded drugs and a huge amount of cash when raided by the PDEA. Gen. dela Rosa said then that he was not convinced that the two policemen did not know anything about Uy’s alleged illegal drug activities, especially when they have been receiving a daily allowance of P1,000.