PDEA chief loses police bodyguards, PNP explains why

September 30, 2019
Bernard M. Banac

PHILIPPINE National Police spokesman Brigadier Gen. Bernard M. Banac yesterday explained why Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) head Director Aaron Aquino was stripped of his police bodyguards.  

Banac said that PRO3 personnel acting as security officers to all government officials in Central Luzon including Aquino were recalled since the PRO3 needs more muscle to secure the Southeast Asian Games which will be held in various venues in Region 3 from November 30 to December 11.

Banac assured the government officials that the recall was only for the duration of the SEA Games.

The country’s drug czar will be getting protection from the Police Security and Protection Group after all, the Journal Group learned.

Highly-reliable sources said there already is a recommendation for chair Director General Aaron N. Aquino’s bodyguards from the Police Regional Office 3 to be assigned to the Police Security and Protection Group.

“Gen. Aquino wants his trusted men to secure him and his family, not total strangers, thus the recommendation to assign his trusted security men to the PSPG,” a police official said on condition of anonymity.

A former Police Regional Office 3 director in Central Luzon until he was designated as PDEA chair by President Duterte following his retirement in September 2017, Aquino saw his security personnel from the PRO3 recalled in the aftermath of his revelations about the so-called ninja cops or rogue policemen involved in the recycling of confiscated drug evidence and other highly-irregular anti-narcotics activities.

Senator Richard Gordon, the chair of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee investigating the drug controversy, said he had learned that Aquino had been stripped of his policemen-bodyguards because they were ordered to report back to their mother units.

Sen. Gordon said he was surprised why the government’s no. 1 drug enforcer was stripped of his security despite the fact that his and his family’s life are in constant danger due to the nature of his job.

The PDEA chief said his security detail appeared to have been singled out after accounting by the PRO3 despite his appeal to PRO3 director Brigadier General Joel Napoleon M. Coronel.

However, Philippine National Police chief General Oscar D. Abayalde denied that the recall of Aquino’s escorts had anything to do with the ninja cops controversy.