PNP chief orders cops to seize illegal firearms of all barangay tanod
MANILA, Philippines – Following a botched police operation that claimed the lives of two people, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa ordered cops to seize the firearms of all members of the barangay tanod (watchmen) who do not have the proper permits.
“Hulihin niyo yan because that’s illegal. They are not authorized to bear firearms. That’s my instruction. Kung meron silang papel sa kanilang baril, legal sila… pwede sila mag bear ng firearms,” said Dela Rosa in a press conference on January 2, 2018.
His instructions come after Mandaluyong city police mistakenly shot at a vehicle they thought carried suspects in an earlier shooting incident.
They acted on information from the barangay tanod who, it turned out, were wrong.
Two people died as a result of the botched operation, including the victim of the initial shooting. The police are probing both the cops involved and the barangay watchmen for both administrative and criminal lapses.
Dela Rosa explained that the two members of the barangay tanod were already at the scene when the cops arrived. The watchmen were already shooting at the vehicle and its passengers, despite the latter saying that they were not suspects.
Police joined the firefight upon arriving the area.
“Klaruhin natin ito. The PNP is happy na merong tanod na nakakatulong sa atin… pero kung tanod naman magiging source ng problema, ng pamamaril, di natin matotolerate yan. In the first place, illegal ang pag-posses ng firearm,” he said.
(Let’s make this clear. The PNP is happy that there are watchmen who help us. But if it’s the watchmen who end up being the source of the problem, of shootings, we cannot tolerate that. In the first place, the possession of firearms is illegal.)
Dela Rosa explained that in many cases, firearms of barangay watchmen are not their own, but those issued by the local government. The barangays tanod is different from Civil Security Unit (CSU) personnel, who are allowed to bear firearms but only within the vicinity of city government property such as the city hall.
These personnel are not allowed to bear firearms while making rounds on patrols.
Dela Rosa said he was unsure if barangay tanod who have licensed firearms and have Permit to Carry Firearms Outside Residence (PCTFOR) were allowed to bring firearms in the context of their duties in the barangays.
What’s clear to him, however, is that barangay watchmen cannot tote firearms citing merely their posts as justification.
The barangay tanod form part of the police’s force multipliers in various areas in the Philippines. – Rappler.com