By Mario Casayuran
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson reiterated today his call to the Philippine National Police (PNP) to institute stricter firearms control or some control measures to arrest the proliferation of illegal firearms.
Lacson, a former PNP chief, made the call as two mayors were shot dead this week for still unknown reasons.
He said only those in the military or police uniform and those who are in civilian clothes but actually performing overt operations against criminal elements should e allowed to carry firearms.
‘’(The Philippines) is just about the only country at least in Asia, na maski sino puwede magdala ng baril,’’ he said. (anybody can just carry firearms.)
‘’Para bang pag nakakita tayo ng taong may baril, pulis siguro yan, yan ang naging assumption. Dapat ang assumption baliktad. Pag nakakita tayo ng taong may baril at naka-civilian, criminal yang assumption,’’ he pointed out. (When we see a person with a gun, the assumption is that he is a policeman. The assumption should be the other way around. When we see persons with guns and are in civilian clothes, the assumption should be that they are criminals,’’ he pointed out.
Sen. Francis Panglinan, president of the opposition Liberal Party (LP), said the killing last Tuesday afternoon of General Tinio Mayor Ferdinand Bote while about to board his vehicle in Cabanatuan city and the Monday morning killing of Tanuan city Mayor Antonio Halili during a flag ceremony is ‘’a wrenching reminder of the breakdown of law and order in our country.’’
‘’This administration ran on a strong anti-crime platform, but two years after, what we see instead is widespread criminality, lawlessness, and corruption,’’ he said.
On allegations that recent killings were ‘inspired’ by President Duterte’s supposed threats, Lacson said: “No, I don’t think so.’’
‘’Pag especially sa local politics, pagka masyadong fierce ang political battle, ang fight, they resort to killing each other. But it is incumbent upon the PNP to do something about it. How? Control the movement of firearms,’’ he explained. (On heated local politics, when the political battle is fierce, the fight becomes violent as they resort to killing each other.)
“Masyadong ang proliferation ng loose firearms grabe sa ating bansa. The PNP could not even give us the number of loose firearms,’’ he added. (The proliferation of loose firearms in the country is grave.)
Opposition Sen. Leila M. de Lima blamed President Duterte for the spate of killings among high-profile local officials because he encourages criminals to break the law and condones extrajudicial killings with impunity.
De Lima issued the statement following the recent killing of Halili who was on Duterte’s list of suspected narcotics-linked officials.
“Duterte may not have fired the gun that killed Mayor Antonio Halili of Tanauan, Batangas, but he most certainly murdered him with his words,” she said.
“Ordinarily, it might be true that words do not kill. But when one is the President, words become orders. This is how Duterte gives the killers their mandate to kill, and protects them from whatever semblance of the law still remains under his administration,” she added.