Lacson: PNP Should Serve and Protect Our Citizens, Not Arm Them

Lacson: PNP Should Serve and Protect Our Citizens, Not Arm Them

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Before entertaining thoughts of arming civilian “volunteers” to help
stop criminality, the Philippine National Police (PNP) should focus on
showing it can protect them, Senator and former PNP Chief Panfilo M.
Lacson said.

Lacson also reiterated the PNP must be stricter especially in issuing
Permits to Carry Firearms Outside Residences (PTCFORs) to civilians
including senators, congressmen, and other ranking government
officials.

“The PNP should make it a point first to show that it is efficient,
professional, and competent to protect civilians on the streets from
malefactors – including those with unlicensed guns and irresponsible
gun holders that make them a threat – before it issues PTCFORs to
deputize civilian ‘volunteers’ as force multipliers,” Lacson, who
headed the PNP from 1999 to 2001, said in an interview on TeleRadyo.

“Otherwise, the public would wonder if the PNP is that helpless to ask
for help from civilians,” he added. “Besides, we do not want guns to
end up with those prone to road rage and similar incidents.”

Also, Lacson welcomed the Executive Department’s apparent
reconsideration and further study of the idea to arm civilians against
crime following public discourse on the matter. “I am glad there is
some reconsideration and further study on the matter. That is the
beauty of public discourse on an issue,” he said.

In pushing for stricter PTCFOR procedures, Lacson cited his experience
when as PNP chief, he was very strict in issuing PTCFORs while
imposing only one uniform standard on everyone, without exception.

He cited the case of the late Sen. Miriam Santiago, recalling her
husband Narciso “Jun” Santiago Jr. asking if the senator could be
exempted from going to PNP headquarters in Camp Crame to take the gun
safety seminar and written exams required for being issued a PTCFOR.
Lacson maintained Sen. Santiago must still personally appear at Camp
Crame.

“She ended up complying with all the requirements and even corrected
some grammatical items in the written exam. So everyone benefited from
it,” Lacson said.

In the case of the late former President Benigno Aquino III, then a
member of the House of Representatives, Lacson said he also applied
the same strict standards, with which he eventually complied.

“I told him he could go to Camp Crame where he will get the needed
assistance. But we should follow one standard. After that we became
friends, and when he joined the Senate in 2007, we even became close,”
Lacson recalled.

He said the only time he waived the requirements was for then
President Joseph Estrada, who as Commander-in-Chief of the armed
forces always face potential security threats.

“Aside from that instance involving the Commander-in-Chief, we were
very strict. Out of some 300,000 previously granted PTCFORs, we issued
only a little over 1,000 permits under my watch until President Erap
was ousted in January 2001,” he said. (ai/mtvn)

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