PALACE TO EDIE: GO TO PNP FOR ESCORTS

MANILA, March 25, 2004
 
(MALAYA)
Presidential spokesman Ignacio Bunye yesterday said Eddie Villanueva of the Bangon Pilipnas Movement should go to the PNP instead of Malacaņang with his request for security escorts.

Bunye said PNP Director General Hemogenes Ebadne Jr. is likely acceded to his request "which appears to be reasonable."

"As a general rule, candidates who have verifiable threats to their lives are entitled to some security," he said.

Villanueva accused Mala-caņang of rejecting his request to restore his escorts follo-wing death threats which he started receiving after he announced his candidacy in December.

He said two members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG), identified only as Jun Manzano and Freddie Bernal, were supposed to be assigned to him on the conditions that he withdrew from the ace.

Villanueva was first provided security escorts in 1983 after he survived an ambush but it was removed under the Estrada administration. Arroyo in 2001 returned these escorts only to remove them again.

Malacaņang declined to comment when asked why Villanueva's previous security escorts came from the PSG.

Bunye said he is not even aware that there were security arrangements for Villanueva.

PSG chief Col. Delfin Bangit in a telephone interview said he is not aware of any request from Villanueva.

Bangit also declined to confirm if Manzano and Bernal are members of PSG and why they were previously assigned to Villanueva.

"Sasagutin ko na lang iyang mga tanong na iyan pag na-receive na namin iyung request," he said.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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