MANILA, Philippines — A Quezon City councilor sought the exemption of all barangay (village) chairmen in the city from the gun ban imposed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), claiming that the village chiefs should be considered law enforcers exposed to dangerous criminals.
“If criminals have their guns, why can’t we have ours?” was basically the argument raised by ex-officio councilor and Liga ng mga Barangay president Ranulfo Ludovica in seeking a council resolution for the exemption.
Ludovica proposed a resolution that would urge Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes to exempt all barangay chairpersons, who are licensed gun holders or permitted to carry their firearms outside of residence, from the gun prohibition.
In pushing for the exemption, he cited a Local Government Code provision, which listed a barangay chairperson as among persons in authority entitled to possess and carry firearms within their territorial jurisdiction. He claimed that the Comelec resolution on the gun ban “adversely affects” the provision.
“Needless to say, as Barangay Chief Executive, all punong barangay are frontliners in the delivery of public services because of their direct contact and interaction with the people and one of their enormous tasks is the maintenance of peace and order,” Ludovica said.
He claimed that because of the limited number of law enforcers to ensure peace and order, the barangay heads are prompted to assume the duties of police officers.
As law enforcers, he maintained, barangay chiefs should also be afforded the privilege of automatic exemption from the gun ban.
“In going after the criminals, it is inevitable that punong barangays are encountering notorious people and criminal syndicates, which always put their lives and their families in danger. In fact, receiving death threats is becoming part of their everyday life,” Ludovica pointed out.
He further said, “If the lawless elements, such as the thieves and bank robbers, [carjacking] and kidnapping groups, guns-for-hire and the like, could freely possess firearms and commit crimes even in broad daylight with impunity, it is with more reason that a punong barangay who is a public servant and clothed with police power be allowed to possess and carry firearms in the pursuit of their sworn duties and as a matter of self-defense and protection.”
In seeking the exemption, Ludovica added that barangay chairpersons are law-abiding citizens and responsible gun holders who will not abuse the privilege.
He remarked, “While the gun ban policy is laudable and helpful to curb election-related violence, the proliferation of illegal and loose firearms must be considered in the regulation of gun holding as good people deserve better and adequate protection than heartless criminals.”