By Junex Doronio
June 30, 2021
Photo courtesy by USA Today
LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu – Apparently fearing a “Wild, Wild West” scenario some lawmakers cross party lines to oppose a proposal to arm civilian volunteers to help police deter crimes and Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra also junked such an idea.
Guevarra expressed the belief that the Philippine National Police (PNP) is capable of protecting the public from criminals and other lawless groups.
“I think the PNP is strong enough to perform its duties,” Guevarra stressed.
He explained that civilians may possess guns provided they comply with the laws and regulations on the possession and carrying of firearms outside of the residence, and pass the necessary requirements including neuro-pscyhiatric test.
“Except during the martial law period, civilians have been allowed to arm themselves for protection. But allowing civilians to band together and act like vigilantes is a totally different matter,” Guevarra said.
It was President Rodrigo Roa Duterte who floated the idea to arm civilian volunteers.
For his part, PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said there is no reason to prevent anti-crime volunteers from enjoying the privilege to own firearms like lawmakers.
“What is the difference between a lawmaker and a volunteer or ordinary citizen who wants to avail himself of the privilege to own a gun as long as he is qualified?” Eleazar asked in an interview on Teleradyo.
He said even journalists and police officers have their own personal firearms for their protection.
But former PNP chief and now Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who said arming civilians could backfire, especially if they do not have the proper training. (AI/MTVN)