PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is in favor of arming government prosecutors amid the spate of killings of members of the National Prosecution Service.
“I’m ready for any suggestion. Options all are on the table. Anong gusto ninyo baril? I will allow it,” Duterte told a gathering of Department of Justice prosecutors in Puerto Princesa City, drawing applause from the crowd.
A former prosecutor himself, Duterte recalled that he could not go around without a gun as he was handling cases against alleged scalawags in the police and military. The President was prosecutor for several years before he entered politics in 1986.
“Ako noon, kung magtanong kayo ng matatanda, may baril talaga ako. I cannot go out without a gun. Hindi ako kumportable, para akong nakahubad,” he said.
Duterte advised the prosecutors to get Glock 19 pistols, claiming these are maintenance-free and do not jam.
He encouraged the leadership of the Prosecutors’ League of the Philippines to work with the Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation and other relevant agencies to come up with ways to better protect the prosecutors and their families.
Duterte also assured the speedy investigation of cases involving killings of prosecutors.
“As a former prosecutor, I understand the very important role that you play in the administration of justice, which unfortunately involves antagonizing lawless elements, hardened criminals and their powerful backers,” he said.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said in May last year that state prosecutors should start carrying guns for self-defense.
He also wants bullet-proof vests and vehicles for the prosecutors but admitted it cannot be done easily due to lack of budget.