Lawmaker warns against perils of police “red teaming ops”

The chairperson of the House committee on strategic intelligence, Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel, on Sunday warned Camp Crame against the perils associated with the conduct of police “red teaming” maneuvers.

“We’re worried that insurgents might exploit these security drills to pounce on isolated police stations in the countryside,” Pimentel said.

“This is just a word of caution that these so-called surprise inspections of police stations in the provinces might blow back on government forces,” Pimentel said.

Pimentel’s panel oversees government intelligence activities and programs, including counterterrorism.

In red teaming exercises, some police units disguise themselves as the enemy and perform spot checks on stations to test their operational readiness.

The Samar provincial police units involved in the supposed mistaken encounter with Calbayog City Mayor Ronald Aquino’s party on Mar. 8 were on red teaming operations in unmarked vehicles and civilian clothes, according to the Eastern Visayas regional police office.

“We should not underestimate the ability of the enemy to resort to elaborate schemes to overwhelm entire police stations or military detachments and seize firearms,” Pimentel said.

“They’ve done this many times in the past by masquerading as government troops on surprise inspection,” Pimentel pointed out.

“The insurgents have been known to impersonate friendly forces by simply donning military or police uniforms,” Pimentel said.