Duterte mulls arming village officials

Pres. Duterte speaking to elected barangay officials in Central Luzon in Clark, Pampanga on Tuesday, June 12, 2018. (RTVM image)

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte on Tuesday told newly-elected barangay officials in Central Luzon that he might give them firearms for protection and to help them in the fight against criminality and illegal drugs.

“I might consider arming you if I think in my assessment and evaluation, tatanungin ko ‘yung police pati ‘yung intelligence community, if you are really into it, the crime, I will support you and I may grant you possession and to carry your firearms,” Duterte said after he administered the oath of office of 2,843 newly-elected punong barangays in the region at the ASEAN Convention Center in Clark, Pampanga.

“‘Pag nakikita kong lumalaban ka, you do not only have the Philippine National Police, the military, but the secretary (of Interior and Local Government Eduardo Año) will see you through. Hindi ko kayo pababayaan,” said the President.

The President also said that if a barangay official is killed in fighting criminals and drug traffickers, he would seek their killers.

In case a barangay official is charged in the performance of duty, Duterte said he would be there to intervene.

“‘Pag napasubo kayo, hindi ko kayo hayaan just like the police and the military. ‘Pag performance of duty, I will never, never really, the sight of a law enforcement agency or a barangay captain going to jail kasi iniwanan kayo,” he said.

Duterte enjoined the newly-elected barangay (officials) to ensure the implementation of the anti-illegal drug efforts such as the establishment and operation of their respective barangay anti-drug abuse council.

Duterte repeated he would fulfill one of his election campaign promises, which is to eradicate drug addiction and drug trafficking nationwide.

“Tatapusin ko ito sa panahon ko (I will end this during my term),” he said referring to the proliferation and abuse of illegal drugs.