PNP pulls out 27 security escorts of 4 Visayas mayors on drug list
ILOILO CITY — The Police Regional Office in Western Visayas (PRO-6) has recalled the 27 security escorts of four mayors in the region who were implicated by President Duterte in the illegal drugs trade.
Of the number, 21 of these police escorts were deployed to Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog – far more than those of other mayors in Western Visayas who were also named by the President.
Mayor Alex Centena of Calinog town in Iloilo had four while Mayor Julius Pacificador of Hamtic town in Antique had two.
Mayor Mariano Malones of Maasin town in Iloilo had no police escort, based on data from the Police Regional Office in Western Visayas (PRO-6).
Lawyer Mark Piad, Mabilog’s spokesperson, explained that the policemen previously assigned to Mabilog worked in shifts as closed-in security personnel and also posted at the mayor’s residence.
He said the removal of the security personnel had raised concerns on Mabilog’s safety and security.
“We are concerned that people with ill motives might take advantage of the situation,” Piad told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) also removed the operational control of police units from local chief executives named by the President as involved in illegal drugs.
Among the policemen included in the President’s list were former Iloilo City police chiefs and retired Chief Supt. Marietto Valerio and Senior Superintendents Kashmir Disomangcop and Ruperto Floro.
Mabilog and the other mayors have denied the President’s allegations that they were protectors of drug lords.
Mabilog was among those who reported to PNP Director General Ronald Dela Rosa and Interior Secretary Ismael Sueño on Monday to clear their names and subject themselves to investigation.
Piad said Dela Rosa assured Mabilog of his safety but it was still unclear what measures the PNP would take without assigning policemen to Mabilog.
The mayor would still meet with Senior Supt. Remus Zacharias Canieso, Iloilo City police chief, to discuss the concerns on his security.
He said the mayor was contemplating of hiring security personnel from accredited private security agencies but this would be in consultation with the PNP.
The mayor might also limit his public appearances and would be accompanied by aides until he could finalize his security arrangements, Piad said.
Meanwwhile, Mayor Julius Pacificador of Hamtic town in Antique has declared his willingness to submit himself to investigation.
He reported to Sueno and promised to sign a waiver for investigators to have unhampered access to his bank accounts and financial records, according to his lawyer, Eduardo Fortaleza. SFM
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