22 Visayas bets want bodyguardsBy Joey A. Gabieta
TACLOBAN CITY—Twenty-two candidates running for various positions in Eastern Visayas claim to have received threats to their lives and have asked the police to provide them security detail.
The number of applicants for security escorts is expected to increase as the May elections draw near, said Insp. Romuel Nacar, information officer of the police regional office in Eastern Visayas.
Among the 22 who filed their applications for security detail were candidates for governors, congressmen and several mayors.
Seven of these candidates are from Leyte and another seven are from Samar, a known insurgency area. Of the 14, eight are incumbents running for reelection.
Seven candidates, all incumbents, also asked for security detail in Northern Samar. One incumbent official in Biliran also asked for a police bodyguard.
Nacar said not a single candidate from Southern Leyte and Eastern Samar requested a police escort from the Regional Joint Security Control Center.
“But as the election draws near and considering that the campaign period for local positions will start on March 29, we expect more incumbents and aspirants would seek security detail,” Nacar said.
He added that the candidates’ report about threats to their lives would have to be validated by the local police and assessed by the regional police’s intelligence office.
It is only when the threats are validated and found to be real that the requests for additional bodyguards are granted, Nacar said.
He said two security escorts each, either from the police or the Philippine Army, would be detailed to the candidates.
Candidates keeping bodyguards in excess of two would be considered maintaining private armed groups, Nacar said.