Huwebes, Hunyo 23, 2016

3rd Debate's security blanket amid kill plot versus Duterte

 By Mortz C. Ortigoza

DAGUPAN CITY -  Unknown to others, the security blanket provided by the Philippine National Police in the last presidential debate here was exemplary amid the assassination rumors against then presidential front runner Rodrigo Duterte, Superintendent Christopher Abrahano, the security commander, said.
Government security forces prepare their riot gears at a
 university in Dagupan City for the third and final leg 
of the presidential debate last April 24.
Three layers of security
He cited that he prepared three layers of security with the more than 700 police and auxiliary forces at his disposal.
He expounded that it could discouraged any assassination attempt or untoward incidents that befall presidential candidates Duterte, Mar Roxas, Grace Poe, Jejomar Binay, and Merriam Santiago.
He said any attempt to harm Duterte would be suicidal on the part of the assassins.
Mahihirapan ka. Kasi ginawa namin three layers ang security. May inner circle, middle circle. Iyong inner naman andoon iyong ABS-CBN tapos iyong police personal body guards, iyong middle natin andoon na iyong two teams of counter snipers, iyong bomb squad, K-9 (It would be a tough barrier. We made three security layers. We have inner circle, middle circle. The inner circle was where the ABS-CBN’s security and the police bodyguards. The two teams of counter snipers, bomb squad, and K-9 were in the middle circle)” Abrahano, the incumbent chief of police here stressed.
The counter snipers and their spotters were at the roof tops of the venue’s University of Pangasinan, building that housed Cuatro Bar, Collegio de Dagupan, and Star Plaza Hotel.

Before the April 24 debate, news stories hugged news outlets about the plot of two assassins who were hired for ten million pesos by those who did not like the feisty Davao City’s Mayor Duterte.

APEC, PSG Stints
The chief of police cited that his training and assignment in 1996 to 1999 at the Presidential Security Group and his stint as security officer of Canada’s Prime Minister Jean Chretien, who was a fellow guest of United States President Bill Clinton and other heads of States in the November 1996 Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference in the country, help buttressed his resolved on how to protect the presidential candidates.
I want you to tighten the security of the (presidential) debate  to approximate those at APEC,” Police Chief Supt. Marlou Chan, commander of the regional special operations task group on the May 9 election, ordered Abrahano and Police Provincial Director Senior Supt. Edgar Allan Okubo at the Pangasinan Provincial Office two weeks before the debate.
Abrahano cited that they emulated the zipper lane (ZL) and the exclusion zones (EZ) of the APEC in securing the arrivals of the presidential candidates.
Zipper Lane bibiyakin mo iyong lane. Zipper Lane gitna both lanes two traffic. Pero sa amin iyong isang lane iyong western part ng Arellano designated security protocol (Zipper Lane is you sliced the road. It was in the center of the four lanes road. But I designated one of the lanes, the western part of Arellano, as for security protocol)'.
 As a result, the more than six- footer chief of police cited, the occasion was devoid of any unfortunate incidents because the exclusion areas were not only orderly but closed to the motorists. He added that the presidential candidates and their convoys arrived in the venue without delay.
You know what the other contingency plan there? Police on motorcycles and fully armed policemen cordoned the presidential convoys. In case the crowds break the cordons, the motorcycles riding cops could still surround the convoys just like the Canadian horse mounted policemen”.

He said the security preparations in ZL and EZ were galvanized by convoy ran, simulation, and dry ran one week before the debate.
The lessons he learned in the February 21 and April 10 presidential debates in Cagayan de Oro and Cebu: The police there did not put barricades on the major thoroughfares thus resulted to some delays of the principals and guests.
“They did not close roads as if they were like regular deployment of security forces”.
 He cited, too, the very professional civilian security guards provided by debate host ABS-CBN TV.
“Wala tayong nadinig na reklamo”.
He said weeks before the April 24 occasion, he sent communication to the liaison officers of the five bets on the security protocol for the debate.
I gave one candidate a police commission officer, who is an inspector or a captain”.
He cited one of the agreements in the protocol was only a security officer he provided and two uniformed security officers of each of the bets were allowed inside the venue at the University of Pangasinan. He said a security from the Army should be donning an army uniform.
“Even the Vice President Binay agreed despite he being authorized to bring more than two guards befitting his position”.
Police Supt. Chris Abrahano receives an award from PNP
 Director General Ricardo Marquez.

Duterte's armored plate SUV, Roxas' night flying helicopter
He cited that Duterte used an armored Chevrolet made Suburban’s S.U.V in coming and leaving the University of Pangasinan – the venue of the occasion.
Kasama niya si General Infante siya ang dos (intelligence chief) niya (he was with retired general Infante, he was his intelligence officer),” he referred to the security of the Davao City mayor.
He said he did not know if Poe, Roxas, Binay had armor-plate cars. 
One of the challenges Abrahano met for the coming occasion was looking for the landing zones of the helicopters that would land and fly the five candidates.
“We identified landing zones. We gave the coordinates of the zones. Roxas with his two choppers landed at CSI Stadia, Duterte’s helicopter used the landing pad at San Marino in Bunoan Gueset, Merriam used San Marino, while Grace Poe landed at the large open space at the old De Venecia Road near the Dagupan City-Calasiao's boundary,” he stressed.
Abrahano said that it was only Santiago who spent the night at San Marino while the rest went to their respective sorties and billets outside the city
General Chan told this paper that Roxas used a night flying capable helicopter in going to Manila.
Duterte proceeded to a sortie in Urdaneta City and motored to Clark in Pampanga where his airplane waited,” Abrahano cited.
When asked if in his entire career, the security of the five VIPs was the most challenging, the native of Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan, said:

It was APEC. But as a commander of the over-all security, the presidential debate was the most challenging,” the ramrod alumnus of the Philippine National Police Academy’s class 1996 said. 

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