THE PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) has requested the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to strip off security escorts for alleged narco-politicians running this coming midterm elections.

“That’s very basic…the first thing that we do ay tanggalan ng security [escorts] itong mga nasa narco-list (the first thing that we do is to remove the security [escorts] of these politicians in the narco-list) especially if they are candidates,” PNP chief General Oscar D. Albayalde said in a joint press conference with the Comelec and Armed Forces of the Philippines on Tuesday, April 16.

“Kasi baka merong nakapag-apply before at napirmahan at nabigyan na ng temporary security….so kaya tayo nakipag-communicate sa Comelec para sila ang magbigay ng authority sa amin na immediately tanggalan ng security itong mga nasa narco-list,” he added. (Because there might be some who have already applied and their temporary security might have been already approved…so that’s why we are communicating with Comelec to let them authorize us to immediately remove their security escorts).

Last month, President Rodrigo R. Duterte and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) named 46 politicians who they said are involved in the illegal drug trade.

PNP said it will provide security to politicians in the list if they receive death threats.

“Remember ‘yung pagbibigay po ng (providing) security is not a right, it’s a privilege, so it can always be revoked anytime it’s because it’s not a right,” Mr. Albayalde said.

PNP also recommended to remove security from politicians supporting the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing the New People’s Army.

“We will also probably recommend that to the Secretary of Interior of Local Government, with more than 300 or to be exact 349 suspected na mga government officials supposed to be or allegedly giving support to CPP-NPAs, and a few of them are governors and candidates for governors and mayors,” said Mr. Albayalde.

Last February, the Interior Department said 11 provincial governors,five vice-governors, 10 provincial board members, 55 mayors, 21 vice-mayors and 41 councilors have paid “permit to campaign” fees and extortion money to communist rebels in the past two elections.

For his part, Comelec chairperson Sheriff A. Abas said, “Sa en banc dedesisyun[an] namin ‘yan mamaya, so tingnan natin kung ano ang magiging desisyon ng en banc regarding that.” (We will decide on that during our en banc). — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras