By Jeffrey Damicog
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has welcomed the idea that state prosecutors arm themselves to better protect themselves from threats.
“I will support prosecutors getting firearm for self-defense,” Guevarra said in a statement.
Recently, former Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) commissioner and now 1-Ang Edukasyon party-list Rep. Salvador Belaro Jr. urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) to provide state prosecutors with bullet-proof vests and other protection devices following the killing of Quezon City Deputy City Prosecutor Rogelio Velasco.
However, Guevarra lamented that the DOJ does not have the budget at the moment to provide state prosecutors with such protective gears.
“I wish we had a budget for body armor,” he disclosed.
“For now we can only wear the breastplate of righteousness and the full armor of God,” Guevarra.
“I wish we could with bullet-proof vehicles to boot but we have to live within our means, and just do our job well,’’ the Secretary said.
Meanwhile, Guevarra has already directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct parallel probes over the death of Velasco.
“As we await for results of the investigation being conducted by police authorities and the NBI, let us remain hopeful that the truth will be revealed and the perpetrators be made to suffer the consequences of their treacherous acts,” he said.
Guevarra also asked members of the National Prosecution Service (NPS) not to be disheartened over the latest killing of a prosecutor.
“As we condemn another senseless attack to our dedication and passion in the performance of our prosecution task, let us remain firm in our commitment to serve justice and find comfort in the thought that this too will pass away and hope that Prosecutor Velasco’s fall is the last in the prosecution service,” he said.
Last Friday afternoon, Velasco was on his way to pick up his wife from work when he got ambushed by unidentified assailants along Holy Spirit Drive in Barangay Holy Spirit, Quezon City.
Velasco is the fifth prosecutor killed under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte who was once a prosecutor himself.
The other slain prosecutors were Quezon Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Reymund Luna, Caloocan City prosecutor Diosdado Azarcon, Quezon City prosecutor Noel Mingoa, Rizal assistant prosecutor Maria Ronatay and retired Mandaluyong City Prosecutor Pablito Gahol.