Following a violent incident involving a village guard (barangay tanod), Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar on Tuesday, August 10, ordered local police chiefs to ensure village guards would not be allowed to carry guns.
On August 7, Eduardo Geñoga, 59, was gunned down along Tayuman Street in Tondo, Manila by Cesar Panlaqui, 55, village guard of Barangay 156, according to the Manila Police District (MPD).
Geñoga’s family said Eduardo suffered from a mental illness.
According to reports, the village guard accosted the victim because he was being noisy during curfew hours. The victim reportedly approached the suspect with a stick, which prompted the suspect to shoot the victim in the chest.
Eleazar also said that the suspect is currently under the MPD’s custody.
“Nasa kustodiya na ng Manila Police District at naghahanda na rin ng mga karampatang kaso ang ating kapulisan upang mapanagot ang barangay tanod na nakapatay ng isa nating kababayan sa Maynila,” the PNP chief said.
(The suspect is already under the custody of the Manila Police District and the police are already preparing appropriate complaints against him.)
As early as Monday, Department of the Interior and Local Government spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said the interior department already instructed the police to probe the killing.
For the police, Eleazar said they would conduct a thorough investigation into the brutal death of Geñoga. The PNP chief added that they would also focus on the gun used by the village guard to kill the victim.
“Kasama sa iimbestigahan ay kung bakit may baril itong barangay tanod at kung ito ba ay rehistrado. Kung lalabas sa imbestigasyon na hindi rehistrado ang baril na nakumpiska kay Panlaqui ay haharap pa siya sa karagdagang kaso ng illegal possession of firearm,” Eleazar said.
(We will include in our investigation why this village guard has a gun and if it was registered. If the probe will reveal that the gun confiscated from Panlaqui is unregistered, he could also face illegal possession of firearms.)
In a statement on August 10, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said it is currently probing the killing of Geñoga.
The CHR said the death of another quarantine violator is reminiscent of Winston Ragos, who died during the first implementation of enhanced community quarantine in the country in 2020.
The commission also reminded the authorities to adhere to human rights-based policy in enforcing the quarantine rules, especially for those with mental health conditions.
There is no law that prescribes carrying guns for village guards. But in 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte said he wants to arm barangay officials who will actively participate in operations against crime and illegal drugs with guns.
However, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, who oversees local governments and the police, reminded that no village guards should be allowed to carry guns.
Recently, in June, Duterte said he was “open” to arming civilian groups as long as they would fight criminality. Senator Panfilo Lacson, a former PNP chief, slammed the suggestion and said that it could actually lead to more crimes. – Rappler.com