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Slain ex-solon not entitled to security escort – Gen. Sapitula

CAMP FLORENDO, LA UNION – Police Regional Office 1 (PRO1) Director PCSupt. Romulo E. Sapitula denies that the Philippine National Police in Region 1 recalled the security escort of the late former congressman Eufranio C. Eriguel.

“We never detail police personnel as his protective security, because he is not entitled to it,” the police regional director stressed in a statement issued by the PRO1 on May 30, 2018 as a reply to the privilege speech of Congresswoman Sandra Eriguel on May 28 at the House of the Representatives blaming the police particularly the PRO1 leadership as responsible in the recall of the police personnel detailed as their protective security.

“First, he [Eufranio Eriguel] is not an incumbent public official. Second, he is identified as narco-politics by no less than the President of the Philippines Rodrigo Roa Duterte. Third, no written request for protective security was received by this office. We only recalled the police escorts of Congresswoman Sandra Eriguel and Mayor Stefanie Ann Eriguel and these personnel were detailed for them as a matter of courtesy and not a policy,” Sapitula explained.

He added, “as much as our office desired to prevent the recall of the police personnel, we are duty-bound to do so in compliance with the PNP National Headquarters’ directive.”

The PRO1 director said that while he shares the sentiments of the Eriguel family, the police are mandated to implement legal orders. “The security maybe recalled or terminated anytime, or even before the expiration of the detail, when the demands of the PNP so requires which holds true during the election period.”

He said that during the series of meetings with the Commission on Elections and the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Region 1, they discovered the “lack of about a thousand personnel to man the voting places” adding, “the detail of these security personnel to election duties is one of the noblest tasks which is to secure the rights of the people to suffrage”.

Sapitula also reported the allegation that Police Chief Inspector Alfredo D Padilla Jr., then the Agoo chief of police, failed to dispatch security detail at the miting de avance at Barangay Capas, Agoo, La Union is now being investigated by the Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) Eriguel.

“For now, this is not the time of finger-pointing, for this will not help in the speedy resolution of the case. What we need now is the concerted effort of every concerned individual.  It is the desire of this leadership to resolve this case as early as possible to give justice to the victims,” he said.

Former congressman Eriguel, with his two civilian bodyguards, was slain while he was speaking in front of the people during the miting de avance at Barangay Capas, Agoo on May 12. MPA / ABN

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