Philippine economy

‘It was an open area:’ PSG explains bulletproof glass for Duterte in Malabon rally

Camille Elemia
‘It was an open area:’ PSG explains bulletproof glass for Duterte in Malabon rally
But President Rodrigo Duterte does not use a bulletproof glass shield in other PDP-Laban rallies held outdoors, with even bigger crowds

MANILA, Philippines – The chief of the Presidential Security Group on Wednesday, April 3, explained the need for a bulletproof glass shield for President Rodrigo Duterte during a PDP-Laban rally in Malabon.

On Tuesday, Duterte addressed the crowd with a rectangular bulletproof glass near the presidential podium onstage.

“PSG decided to put bulletproof glass on the presidential podium because the activity was situated in an open area,” Brigadier General Jose Eriel 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,” he added.

While the activity’s setting was cited as reason, Duterte did not use a bulletproof glass in earlier PDP-Laban rallies held outdoors.

During the launch in San Jose Del Monte in Bulacan – a bigger venue than that in Malabon – there was no protective shield for the Chief Executive.

SAN JOSE DEL MONTE RALLY. President Duterte speaks before residents of Bulacan. Rappler photo

There was also no use of such glass when Duterte spoke at the PDP-Laban rally held at Plaza Independencia in Cebu City, another open field.

ANOTHER OPEN AREA. There was no protective shield for Duterte during the PDP-Laban rally at Plaza Independencia. RTVM screenshot

“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 every engagement, assessment of the venue is conducted in order to determine the type of security measures needed to be enforced,” he said.

At the start of his speech on Tuesday, April 2,Duterte told the crowd that someone wants him dead.

“May gusto mang pumatay sa akin. Pero palagay ko pa naman ang buhay ay swerte-swerte lang. Kung panahon ko na talaga, wala na akong magawa,” Duterte said.

(Somebody wants to kill me. But I think in life, it’s just a matter of luck. If it really is my time, then I can’t do anything about it.)

“Alam mo ha, itong picture frame na ito ha 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,” he said, referring to the glass.

(You know, I don’t have control over this glass. Even if I get mad, I cannot ask the PSG, presidential guards, to adjust the security setup because they are the ones who make the decisions.) – Rappler.com

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Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com