DAGUPAN CITY — The Pangasinan Police Provincial Office (PPO) said the request of the barangay chairmen in Pangasinan to be armed could be granted for as long as it is not against the law.
This was the response of Supt. Jackie Candelario, deputy police provincial; director for operations, to the request of barangay chairmen of Pangasinan through their provincial federation head Jinky Zaplan to be armed as they are now alarmed over the growing number of members of their ranks being killed nowadays.
“First of all, we are not against this so long as it is permitted by law. But not all barangay chairmen must be armed,” Candelario said.
He added that based on their list, a few barangay officials are involved in illegal drugs and some are into illegal activities.
Candelario added that if there is a decision for the barangay chairmen to be armed, only those who are under threat should be allowed to carry firearms or request for firearms.
He said there should be proper guidelines to be drawn up for those who want to be armed, possibly to be covered by an ordinance to be passed by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
Firearms should not be issued to barangay chairmen who have pending cases, criminal or civil, and for illegal drugs, and those proven to have bad behaviors or are drinking intoxicating liquor.
The guidelines, he said, must specify who should be armed, where will they intend to use this or whether they can bring their firearm outside of their own villages, he said.
In 2007, all the barangay chairmen were issued a shotgun each by the provincial government to be used by them in protecting themselves and their constituents from trouble-makers and cattle rustlers.
But before every election, the barangay chairmen were obligated to turn these over to police stations near them for safekeeping which was also in observance of the gun ban prevailing.
The last time these firearms were deposited to the police for safekeeping was in 2013 but were not returned to them again as the permits for the same had already expired.
Candelario said most of the shotguns are still with the Pangasinan Police Office and some with police stations.
Zaplan revealed the shotguns are now rusting and they better be officially donated to the Pangasinan PPO for use of policemen since they lack firepower anyway.
She said they would ask Governor Amado Espino III to buy them new firearms which they can use to defend themselves in case they and their constituents are under attack. Leonardo Micua/PNA-northboundasia.com