INTERIOR and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Ano stressed that barangay tanods and other members of the so-called police auxiliary units are not allowed to carry firearms even in the performance of their official duties and functions.
Ano said this following the fatal shooting last Saturday of a person in Manila which involved a village watchman.
Cesar Panlaqui, a tanod of Bgy. 156 Tondo, allegedly gunned down on Tayuman Street Eduardo Genoga, who reportedly approached him with a stick,
According to Ano, Republic Act 10951 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act enacted in 2012 has revoked the authority of police auxiliary units including barangay tanods to carry firearms which was previously allowed by Circular 2008-013 of the National Police Commission.
“While we acknowledge that barangay tanods play a complementary role to local authorities in the maintenance of the peace of order in their respective communities, we firmly reiterate that they are not authorized to carry any firearm in the performance of their duties even if they own these firearms,” the DILG chief stressed.
Ano said the law is clear that registered firearms of local government units (LGUs) shall only be issued to a government official or employee with a permanent plantilla position.
And since barangay tanod position is not part of the plantilla, Ano said they therefore are not authorized to bear firearms while on duty.
He called on all local chief executives to direct all barangay tanods within their respective jurisdiction not to carry any firearm while in the performance of their duties and functions or face charges from the DILG.
Under DILG Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2003-42, tanods are only allowed to use nightstick with teargas and should be tucked in a belt with holster, handcuff with holster, whistle, flashlight, raincoat, rain boots, small notebooks and ballpens along with first-aid kits.
If and when these village watchmen feel that they are in a potentially dangerous situation, Ano said they can always seek the help of the local police or their colleagues.
“Hindi sana humantong sa pamamaril at pagkamatay ng curfew violator kung hindi armado ang tanod at kung kumilos siya nang naaayon lamang sa katungkulan niya,” the DILG chief added.
Meanwhile, DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya reminded barangay tanods not to be reckless and hotheaded in dealing with curfew violators and enforcing quarantine regulations.
“While we want the public to abide by health protocols, hindi dapat pairalin ang init ng ulo at maging padalos-dalos sa pagpapatupad ng mga regulasyon. Ang lahat naman ay madadaan sa maayos na paalala at pakikipag-usap,” he said.
The Philippine National Police is already investigating the incident and is set to file murder charges against the erring barangay tanod.
“Hindi natin palalampasin ang pagmamalabis sa tungkulin ng mga barangay tanod o ng sinumang lokal na opisyal na umaabuso sa kanilang tungkulin,” he said.