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Hontiveros opposes arming barangay chiefs: Gunless is important to progress

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Saying that she advocates a “gunless society,” Senator Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday rejected proposals to arm public prosecutors and barangay captains for their safety.

President Rodrigo Duterte wants to arm barangay captains to fight criminals in their areas while Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has sought funds to buy firearms for public prosecutors amid spate of killings of members of the State’s prosecutorial arm.

“Iyung panukalan ni Presidente na armasan pati ‘yung mga barangay captains? Of course, ‘yung barangay captains natin ang chief executive sa antas ng barangay, pati sa usapin ng law and order and public safety, pero hindi ibig sabihin armasan sila,” she said.

“Problema na nga ang proliferation ng small arms and light weapons. Kung sa akin, mas gusto ko ‘yung adbokasiya ng isang gunless society,” Hontiveros said.

Arming public prosecutors is “not the solution” to end the killings of members of the State’s prosecutorial arm, the opposition senator said.

“Hinding-hindi ‘yan solution. Mas gagawin pa rin niyang grabe ang sitwasyon ngayon,” Hontiveros said in a media forum.

“I’m sorry na hindi ko masusuportahan ang panukalang iyan ng bagong confirmed na Justice Secretary, bagama’t sinuporhan ko ang kaniyang confirmation (sa Commission on Appointments),” she said.

She added, “Habang ginagawa natin ang security sector reforms sa AFP at PNP, ang AFP at PNP lamang ang maaring humawak at gumamit ng armas.”

“Dapat sana ay kilalanin niya na ang mas solution talaga, whether mula sa justice department at lalo na sa ating law enforecement authorities, ay ang maayos na law enforcement, ang pagseguro ng public safety ng lahat ng ating mamamayan at government officials, pati na mga state prosecutors, ang ang tamang pag-imbestiga, pag-aresto, case build-up, prosecution at conviction, kapag ang suspect at mapatunayan na siya talaga ang may sala,” she said.

“Iyan yung tingin kong mas tamang trajectory ng mga solution at pagbabago para pigilin ang yung karahasan laban man sa ating mga state prosecutors, o asikasuhin yung mga krimen sa antas ng ating barangay,” she said.