THE Philippine National Police (PNP) has only until January 9 to recall all of its personnel who are detailed as security of politicians, businessmen and other very important persons.

The recall is in accordance with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Resolution 8714 entitled Rules and Regulations on the bearing, carrying or transporting of firearms or other deadly weapons; and employment, availment or engagement of the services of security personnel or bodyguards, during the election period for the May 10, 2010 National and Local Elections".

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Section 6 of the resolution states that “when circumstances warrant, including but not limited to threats to life and security, a candidate to public office, including incumbent public officer, and private individual, may, upon application, be assigned regular members of the PNP or the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), or the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and as augmentation, duly licensed or authorized Protective Agents of Private Detective Agencies, to provide security, for the duration of the election period.”

All existing authority granting security personnel or bodyguards, meanwhile, are revoked at the start of the election period. For the affected officials or individuals who want to continue to avail of or engage the services of security personnel or bodyguard, he or she must apply for the employment, availment or engagement of security personnel or bodyguard, as provided in Section 7 of the same resolution.

Section 7 states: "Any candidate for public office, including incumbent public officer seeking election to any public office, or any public officer or private individual, who wants to employ, avail of or engage the services of security personnel or bodyguard, shall file a written application under oath, in three (3) copies, stating his full name, the public office he seeks to be elected, his residence and the reasons or circumstances for the application, in accordance with the following procedures:

"A filing fee of PhP5,000 shall be charged for each application.

(a) Candidates for Member, House of Representatives and local elective positions, as well as public officers or private individuals, shall file their applications with the Regional Joint Security Control Desks (R-JSCD) in their respective regions, to be chaired by the Comelec Regional Election Director.

"Candidates for national elective positions shall file their applications with the Committee on the Ban on Firearms and Security Personnel (CBFSP), at the Main Office of the Commission on Elections, Intramuros, Manila.

"(b) Within five (5) days from receipt of the application, the JSCD shall refer the application with threat assessment and recommendations to the CBFSP.

"In the case of applications filed with the CBFSP, the CBFSP shall refer the matter to the AFP and PNP which shall immediately conduct a threat or security assessment. Within five (5) days from referral, the AFP and PNP shall submit to the CBFSP its assessment with a recommendation on whether to grant or not to grant the request.

"(c) Based on the assessment and recommendation submitted to it, the CBFSP shall grant or deny the request or may request for a reassessment.

"If the decision is to grant the request, the CBFSP may authorize the Director General of the PNP or the Chief of Staff of the AFP or the Director of the National Bureau of Investigation to assign not more than two (2) of its regular members as security personnel.

"Upon request and when the threat assessment warrants, the CBFSP may authorize the assignment of additional two (2) Protective Agents as close-in security.

"In exceptionally meritorious circumstances, candidates for national elective positions may request for additional security subject to such conditions and restrictions that the CBFSP may impose.

"(d) The authority shall be in writing and in three (3) copies. The original shall be given to the office which will provide the security personnel. The second shall be retained by the CBFSP. The third shall be given to the applicant.

"(e) In case of disapproval of the request, the CBFSP shall notify the applicant. The notice shall be in writing.

"As far as practicable, the security personnel to be assigned to candidates in the same city, municipality, district, province, shall come from the same unit or office.

"(f) The officers assigned for security duty to a candidate shall be subject to the same requirements as to the wearing of uniforms and the other conditions imposed in Section 4 (a) hereof.

"(g) If at any time the ground for which the authority to engage the services of security personnel ceases to exist, or for any valid cause, the CBFSP shall revoke the authority granted."

DCPO Director Senior Superintendent Ramon Apolinario said they will strictly be enforcing the Comelec resolution. He revealed that there are about 50 PNP personnel who are detailed to various politicians, businessmen and other VIP’s in the city and they will be recalled anytime soon. (BOT)