MANILA - Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Tuesday said he was ready to confront an official who was seen using a marked police vehicle as security escort for personal purposes.
Sotto said this in an exchange with former senator JV Ejercito, who shared on Twitter how he saw an official he did not identify who has "2 motorcycle escorts," a "back up and a marked police vehicle" just to go to the gym and have breakfast.
"Ipaalam mo sa'kin kung sino. Sapulin ko sa GAA deliberations," Sotto told Ejercito in a tweet.
(Tell me who it is. I will scold them during the GAA deliberations.)
Ejercito then replied: "Naku SP ang daming ganyan pa rin ngayon!"
(Many are still like that until now.)
Sotto was referring to the ongoing budget hearings in the Senate where heads of government agencies are expected to appear before lawmakers to justify their budget requests for 2021.
Under the law, any person can hire up to 4 bodyguards from private detective agencies.
Any person can also apply for a maximum of 2 police escorts from the Philippine National Police (PNP) Police Security and Protection Group (PSPG), depending on the result of a threat assessment.
But under a PNP Memorandum Circular issued in 2017, marked police vehicles and motorcycle security escorts can only be provided to the following officials:
- Vice President of the Philippines
- Senate President
- Speaker of the House Representatives
- Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
- other authorized government officials, foreign delegates during national events
Ejercito did not publicly name who he was referring to, but said that those using police cars as part of their security detail should be ashamed because the Senate President himself does not even have a bodyguard.
"Kayo nga Senate President, walang security, walang drayber, walang staff! Sarili kayo nagmamaneho ng kotse niyo papunta Senado kahit trapik!" Ejercito said in his reply to Sotto's tweet.
(You're the Senate President but you don't have security, you don't have a driver, you don't have your staff with you! You drive your own car to the Senate even when the traffic's bad.)
"Sana mahiya sila sa inyo SP!" he said.
(They should be ashamed!)