By ALFRED GABOT, Editor in Chief

MANILA (June 16, 2022)  – Law enforcers and other government agencies have tightened up security further to ensure a successful inauguration of incoming President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and Vice President Sara Duterte Carpio and the handover of power from outgoing President Rodrigo R. Duterte and Vice President Maria Leonor Leni Robredo.

Marcos will take the reins of government at noon on June 30 in ceremonies at the National Museum of Fine Arts building, formerly the Legislative Building which housed the old Philippine Senate and the House of Representatives and where his late father, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., held office as Ilocos Norte congressman, Senator and Senate President. Some Philippine presidents have also taken their oath of office in the old Legislative building.

Duterte-Carpio, on the other hand, will take her oath of office in Davao City on June 19 to be attended by President Duterte, former President and incoming Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and other leaders. It was not known if President-elect Marcos will attend the ceremonies but his sister, Sen. Imelda Imee Marcos, has confirmed his attendance in the event.

The Vice President-elect earlier said she decided to hold her oath taking in Davao City on June 19 so she can attend the inauguration of President Marcos on June 30 in Manila.

As part of the tightened security, the Philippine National Police will implement a gun ban during the inauguration of Marcos and Duterte where top leaders and prominent personalities and diplomats will be participating as guests.

In Davao City, the gun ban will take effect on June 16 to 21 for Duterte’s inauguration at the San Pedro Square on June 19.

The gun ban will be enforce in Metro Manila on June 27 to July 2 for the oath-taking of Marcos at the National Museum near the Manila City Hall in Manila on June 30.

This developed as former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile warned of an alleged conspiracy to pillory President-elect  Marcos Jr. in an attempt to taint his reputation.

In a report by the government media Philippine News Agency (PNA) and carried by Manila Times, among others, Enrile, citing information from “credible” source, cautioned that certain groups from the United States (US) and the Philippines are purportedly conniving to put Marcos to trouble.

“I just picked up what I consider to be a credible information that there are groups in America and in the Philippines planning and preparing to cause serious embarrassment and trouble for our newly-elected President,” said Enrile in a Facebook post.

Enrile, however, did not elaborate on the supposed collusion to tarnish the image of Marcos but said he would give further details to the “proper official” of the incoming Marcos administration “in due time.”

“Caution is the name of the game. You are just starting you[r] travel in troubled waters. Your adversaries have not stopped. To borrow a phrase from someone, right now ‘they are hiding their brightness and biding their time,’” Enrile said.

Enrile also advised the incoming security officials of the Marcos administration to intensify their intelligence gathering.

He said taking “soft and pacific” stance to appease critics is not a good idea.

“I have a humble unsolicited advice for the national security officials of the new regime. Instead of making soft and pacific statements seemingly intended to quiet and to gain the cooperation, trust, and confidence of the habitual trouble makers in this country, I suggest that they should sharpen their intelligence information,” Enrile said.

The PNP is mobilizing at least 3,700 police officers to secure Duterte’s swearing-in ceremony, while at least 6,000 police officers and men will be deployed for Marcos’ inauguration, said PNP Director for Operations Valeriano de Leon.

De Leon said the number of detailed police officers and men excludes those who would be stationed for border control and other uniformed personnel.

He said Civil Disturbance Management units will also be deployed near the oathtaking sites, adding no group has been granted permit to conduct rallies yet.

“The world will be watching us and we will not allow unruly and unauthorized rallies,” said De Leon.

De Leon said that protests will not be allowed near the inauguration venues but maybe allowed in Freedom Parks like the Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila. Those who will be staging protest rallies without permits will be stopped, he added.

It can be recalled that in January, the National Bureau of Investigation was directed to validate reports of an alleged assassination plot against then presidential aspirant Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

 The Philippine National Police then also conducted its own investigation on the alleged plot.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said that the department’s Office of Cybercrime “requested the preservation of the suspect account” after receiving an “online tip” about the supposed threat.

“Pending verification, we are keeping other details confidential for security reasons,” he said, adding that the department “acted immediately in view of the serious nature of the information received.”

The PNP and NBI probes was prompted by a post on TikTok that read “WE ARE meeting everyday to plan for BBM’s assassination. Get ready.” (June 16, 2022)