'The criminal must die, you must live': Duterte backs arming of anti-crime volunteers

Published June 25, 2021, 6:38 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte is amenable to the arming of a new coalition of volunteers to augment government forces in keeping peace and order in the country.

President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a speech during the ceremonial signing of several laws in Malacañang on June 24, 2021. (Malacañang)

According to the President, anti-crime volunteers could apply for a gun permit so they can “help us enforce the law.”

These volunteers considered “force multipliers” of the government could make a “citizen’s arrest” in the event a crime is committed in their presence, Duterte added.

“You can have a gun and if you’re qualified, I will ask the police to give the license but please try to observe the law,” Duterte said during the launch of a Global Coalition of Lingkod Bayan Advocacy Support Groups and Force Multipliers at Camp Crame in Quezon City Friday, June 25.

“Do not simply say you’re making an arrest kasi tapos wala kang…ikaw ang mamatay (because without a gun, you will die). You’re not supposed to die. The criminal must die, you must live,” he added.

Duterte, a former prosecutor, also offered to give a lecture to the volunteers about criminal procedure, particularly in making arrest and seizure. He noted that policemen can use reasonable force if the crime suspect violently resists arrest.

The newly formed coalition included volunteer barangay watchmen, environmentalists, representatives from women and LGBT groups, riders and motorists, and the religious sector.

In the same speech, the President recognized the invaluable role of the police in keeping peace and order but “we also cannot deny the fact that if we are to totally eradicate criminality and terrorism, we need the active participation of our people.”

He said the newly formed coalition was a testament to the desire of private citizens and communities to take part in the task of achieving peace across the country.

“Let me therefore thank the dedicated advocacy groups and force multipliers who play in important role in helping the PNP fulfill its mandate especially in restoring and reinforcing public trust in our police force,” he said.

He also lauded the “selfless volunteers” from various sectors as a “new batch of heroes.” As they begin their volunteer work, he reminded them that cooperation was important in the success of the collective pursuit of genuine and lasting peace.

“I trust your partnership with PNP will remain strong in years ahead. We all have a part in building a better nation. I am pleased to note that you have heeded the call to serve and improve the quality of life of our people,” he said.