Aquino’s cop escorts withdrawn

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    THE Philippine National Police (PNP) has withdrawn the police escorts of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino, Sen. Richard Gordon claimed yesterday.

    Gordon, chairman of the Senate blue ribbon committee, said the withdrawal could have been caused by a supposed “clash” between PNP and PDEA, following Aquino’s admission in a Senate hearing earlier this month that “ninja cops” were “recycling” much of the illegal drugs seized during operations and selling these to drug lords.

    “I am more bothered because I heard that Gen. Aquino’s security was withdrawn. Eh, he’s the number 1 drug enforcer. Why would you pull them out? That’s not right,” Gordon said in an interview with radio station dzBB.

    He did not detail when the supposed withdrawal took place or how many escorts were pulled out.

    Aquino cannot be reached for comment.

    The blue ribbon committee chairman said the rift between PNP and PDEA was more apparent at the regional level. He said this would be one of the main points of the hearing on anomalies in the New Bilibid Prisons to be conducted on Tuesday.

    “There is no cooperation, there is no teamwork. Kanya-kanya (They act on their own),” he said.

    PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac immediately doused cold waters on growing speculations of a widening crack between the two agencies as he bared that Aquino’s two police escorts were recalled yesterday to augment the additional police force needed for the SEA Games to be held in Central Luzon in November 2019.

    In a statement, Banac said all government officials with security details coming from the Central Luzon Police Regional Office were recalled “as they would all be needed to prepare for and maximize deployment of the SEA Games to be held in Central Luzon in November 2019.”

    Sources from PDEA said the police escorts of Aquino were his personal choice since he was still the regional director of Central Luzon, his last assignment in the PNP where he retired in 2017.

    VIPs normally request their security escorts from the Police Security and Protection Group but in Aquino’s case, his escorts belong to the Central Luzon Police Regional Office with special arrangements with the PNP leadership.

    Banac said the recall of police security detail is only temporary and the escorts will be reassigned to their VIPs once the SEA Games are done.