Robredo opposes Duterte proposal to arm barangay chiefs

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo disapproves of President Rodrigo Duterte's proposal to give barangay captains the power to carry firearms amid the police's ongoing anti-drug campaign.

The Vice President was asked to react to Duterte's proposal in a chance interview in Naga City on Monday, June 18.

"Ako, hindi ako pabor, kasi hindi naman iyon iyong mandato ng barangay officials. Iyong mga barangay officials, iyon iyong nagpe-perform ng executive functions sa barangay," said Robredo.

(I am not in favor of that because that is not the mandate of barangay officials. They perform the executive functions of the barangay.)

Last week, Duterte mulled giving the power to bear arms to barangay captains who are serious in their local campaigns against illegal drugs. (READ: Duterte vows protection for barangay chiefs unjustly accused of drug war deaths)

"I might consider arming you.... I may support you and I may grant you possession and to carry your firearms," said the President.

But Robredo said the country already has peacekeeping institutions, like the police and the military, to ensure the safety and security of every citizen. The Vice President, who has long been criticizing Duterte's bloody anti-drug campaign, said resorting to the use of firearms will not bring about peace and order.

"Iyong pagdadala ng armas, hindi iyon iyong kasagutan sa peace and order.... Maraming ibang paraan para panatilihin iyong peace and order, na hindi mo kailangang armasan iyong mga barangay officials," said Robredo.

(Carrying firearms will not lead to peace and order.... There are other ways to maintain peace and order without giving barangay officials the power to bear arms.)

In the same interview, the Vice President said she supports extending the terms of office of barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan officials from the current 3 years to 5 years in a bid to lessen local polls that are "too politicized." – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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