File photo by Richard Falcatan/Rappler
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – “It’s an honor and pride to serve the incoming president,” said Colonel Rolando Joselito Bautista after receiving word that president-elect Rodrigo Duterte has chosen him to be the next Presidential Security Group (PSG) commander.
Bautista told Rappler on Monday, May 23, that he has not talked directly to Duterte about his appointment but was told by Duterte’s executive assistant, Christopher "Bong" Go, that he has been chosen for the job. Go confirmed this with Rappler. (READ: LIST: Who's who in the incoming Duterte Cabinet)
Bautista, currently the Commander of the Joint Task Group in Basilan, said he would stick to tried and tested methods of ensuring the safety of Duterte but will be open to “innovations” that may be required for a president like Duterte.
“Apparently, we have existing protocols and procedures on how to secure a president that we observe. These have been tested and institutionalized. But of course, there will be additions and innovations depending on the desire of the president,” he said in a statement released on Monday, May 23.
A 1985 graduate of the Philippine Military Academy, Bautista served as commander of the 73rd Infantry Battalion covering Davao City and Davao del Norte from 2005 to 2007. Prior to his Basilan stint, Bautista was commander of Task Force General Santos in General Santos City.
Bautista, who hails from Pangasinan, took up a VIP Protective Detail Course conducted by the US Embassy in Manila.
AFP spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Noel Detoyato called him a “well-rounded officer.”
“He is an operations man and also adept in intel [intelligence]. He is a good family man but service-oriented,” he said.
Bautista is also said to be good friends with Duterte’s executive assistant Go, who, according to the transition committee, was in charge of vetting nominees for appointments under the Peace and Security cluster. – With reports from Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.