MANILA – The Presidential Security Group (PSG) on Wednesday said security protocol called for the placement of a bullet-proof glass on the presidential podium during President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to Malabon City for a campaign sortie on Tuesday.
It was a rare instance that showed the lengths that strict presidential guards could go to protect the chief executive.
PSG Commander, Brigadier General Jose Eriel Niembra, said the PSG had to put a bullet-proof glass in front of the podium because the venue was not in an enclosed space, making the chief vulnerable to a possible attack.
“PSG's mandate is to protect the President, thus, multi-faceted threats are usual considerations. With or without outstanding threat, it is but imperative for PSG to implement the highest security protocols,” Niembra said in a statement.
“Whilst our President wanted to have close encounter and dialogues with the people, PSG acknowledges the need to balance security and accessibility of the President.”
During his speech at the campaign rally of PDP-Laban in Barangay Potrero, Malabon, Duterte also took note of the bullet-proof glass, saying he had no choice but to abide by the rules laid out by the PSG.
“Alam mo ah itong picture frame na ito, ah iyon ang hindi ko na kontrolado. Sumama man ang loob ko, magalit ako, hindi ko mautusan ang security setup ng PSG, presidential guards, kasi sila talaga ang masunod,” Duterte said referring to the bullet-proof glass.
(Things like this picture frame, they are beyond my control. Even if I get disappointed or mad, I cannot disobey the PSG’s orders because they are the one in charge.)
Duterte also acknowledged that some people wanted him dead.
“May gusto mang pumatay sa akin. Pero palagay ko pa naman ang buhay ay suwerte-suwerte lang. Kung panahon ko na talaga, wala na akong magawa,” he said.
(Someone wants me killed. But I think life sometimes depends on luck. If it’s really my time to go, then I cannot do something about it.)
It was during this sortie that Duterte issued a warning to incumbent Malabon City Mayor Antolin “Lenlen” Oreta III to rid the city of illegal drugs or face arrest.
Oreta has since responded to Duterte’s warning, saying he has been conducting his own anti-illegal drug campaign in the city even before Duterte came to power.