JUSTICE Secretary Menardo Guevarra is supporting the decision of the public prosecutors to arm themselves for self-defense following last Friday’s attack that killed Quezon City Deputy Prosecutor Rogelio Velasco.
“Yes, I will support prosecutors getting firearms for self-defense,” Guevarra said in an interview.
Guevarra made the comment when sought for comment on whether arming the prosecutors would somehow discourage such killings, many of which have remained unresolved.
But the Justice Secretary noted the Department of Justice had no funds to shoulder the procurement of firearms for prosecutors.
“I wish we could with bullet-proof vehicles to boot but we have to live within our means, and just do our job well,’’ Guevarra stressed.
According to the DoJ chief, carrying firearms for self-defense might be necessary for those handling high-profile and sensitive cases and have death threats.
Some sectors called on the DoJ to procure and issue bullet-proof vests and other protective gears to prosecutors handling sensitive cases.
Velasco was the sixth prosecutor to be executed under the Duterte administration.
In September 2017, Quezon Province Assistant Prosecutor Reymund Luna was shot dead while he was on his way home after attending a court hearing.
Rizal Provincial Prosecutor Maria Ronatay was gunned down in a similar attack on July 18, 2017 while driving along Ortigas Avenue Extension in Taytay, Rizal.
Other prosecutors killed by still unidentified assailants were Caloocan Assistant State Prosecutor Diosdado Azarcon, Assistant Quezon City Prosecutor Noel Mingoa who was ambushed on Jan. 11, 2017 and City Prosecutor Rolando Acido.
Surigao City Prosecutor Manuel Tesiorna Jr. on the other hand survived an attack by a motorcycle-riding gunman outside his house in Canlanipa Homes, Surigao city last February 6.