Philippine army veteran is hired to guard Lingle
Gov. Linda Lingle has hired a 36-year-old former Philippine army captain for her security detail.
Jovito Palo was hired in April, after Lingle met him last year during her trip to the Philippines.
Bob Awana, Lingle's chief of staff, said Palo was informally offered a job last year because both he and Lingle were impressed with his handling of security during her trip.
Palo is a permanent resident alien, Awana said, and is eligible for state employment.
"When we were on the 2006 trip, he was the person in charge of the entire security detail. He was with the governor every minute of the day and the governor was quite impressed," Awana said.
"Before we left, I made an offhand comment that if he ever wanted to move to the U.S. and work for us, we would consider him in the governor's executive protection unit."
Later, Awana said Palo told him he wanted to move to the United States.
"The next thing I know, he tells me he has a green card and would like to apply for a job," Awana said.
The state's Public Safety Department supervises the sheriffs division, which provides law enforcement services across the state.
Deputy sheriffs provide protection and security services for both the governor and lieutenant governor and their families.
The security team with the governor consists of two deputy sheriffs.
According to state law, three of the members of the governor's security detail can be selected by the governor without having to go through standard civil service procedure. Palo fills one of those three positions.
The position does not extend past 2010, when Lingle leaves office.
But, Awana said, Palo could request to be moved into the civil service. He was hired at the lowest level, Deputy Sheriff One, Awana said.
"He had a bright future in the Philippine army, but he made a decision to leave for a better quality of life," Awana said.
Palo, according to Awana, is a 16-year Philippine military veteran. He served as a company commander in the Philippine army in command of 80 soldiers and then was commander of VIP services and served with Philippine defense intelligence and counterintelligence, according to Awana.
Officials with the Department of Public Safety said Palo will be paid an annual salary of between $32,424 and $49,944.