GMA News Online : Defensor urges Malacañang to offer Marcos Jr. PSG protection

17 April 2022

By MEL MATTHEW DOCTOR | GMA News Online

Anaklasugan party-list Representative Michael Defensor on Sunday urged Malacañang to consider offering Presidential Security Group (PSG) security to former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., saying he is the only major presidential candidate with no personal protection extended by the government as he is not holding public office.

Defensor is running for mayor in Quezon City under Marcos Jr.'s slate.

"The problem with our setup here is that if you are not an incumbent official and you run for president or vice president, you have no government protection at all, unlike in the United States," he stressed.

"In America, all presidential and vice presidential candidates—whether they are current officeholders or not—are automatically safeguarded by the U.S. Secret Services, the same agency defending their sitting president against potential harm or attack," he added.

Although Marcos Jr. previously served as a senator for six years and as Ilocos Norte governor for nine years, he is not a current officeholder.

Defensor pointed out that he is not worried about other presidential and vice presidential bets as they "enjoy their own bodyguards."

"The Palace should at least offer to provide Bongbong a small PSG team. It is up to him if he accepts or declines the offer," said Defensor.

"We are not worried about presidential candidate Leni Robredo’s personal safety because she already enjoys official protection as the sitting vice president," he added.

KBL upholds support for Marcos

The national leadership of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) on Saturday, meanwhile, upheld its support for Marcos's candidacy.

In a press conference in Baguio City, the party denied reports that some members in its Baguio chapter have shifted their allegiance to another candidate.

"This is to inform the public that there is no truth to the publicized withdrawal of support of the KBL members in Baguio City," a portion of the statement signed by KBL national president Efren A Rafanan Sr. read.

"We want to assure you that our officers and members are fully in support of BBM," it added.

The KBL said that a group of KBL-Baguio Benguet officers on April 13 were invited to a private residence and asked to bring their appointment papers by a fellow party official but were “kept in the dark about the reason for the meeting.”

The group said that after they entered the venue, the gates were closed behind them, and media members streamed in, taking photos and videos.

The KBL statement went on to say that the group felt "helpless" in the situation because a tarpaulin bearing the image of Manila Mayor and presidential bet Isko Moreno was unfurled behind them while they were raising their KBL appointment papers.

Rafanan's statement added that "an initial investigation conducted by Chris Garrido, the party's vice president for Luzon, revealed a nationwide effort from the camp of presidential candidate Isko Domagoso to 'present a scenario' where Marcos supporters are backing out and switching to Domagoso."

GMA News Online has reached out to Moreno's camp for comment.

Rafanan added that the KBL leadership is mulling the filing of charges against the individuals behind the incident. — BM, GMA News