The Commission on Human Rights on Saturday opposed the proposal of President Rodrigo Duterte to arm qualified civilian volunteers to help the police in fighting crime.
“The Philippine National Police is more than enough,” CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said in a statement.
De Guia, a lawyer by profession, said under the 1987 Constitution, the government shall maintain only one police force that is national in scope and civilian in character.
“Arming civilians without proper training, qualification, and clear lines of accountabilities may lead to lawlessness and proliferation of arms, which may further negatively impact the human rights situation in the country,” she said.
“We trust that the PNP, with Police General Guillermo Eleazar at the helm, will do its best in ensuring peace and order in our communities, without compromising respect for human rights,” she added.
The PNP on Friday launched the Global Coalition of Lingkod Bayan Advocacy Support Groups and Force Multipliers composed of civilian partner organizations.
In his speech during the event, President Duterte said qualified civilian groups should be armed to help the police, adding that the essence of making an arrest is to “overcome the resistance” of the criminal.
“The duty of the arresting officer be he a military, police, or an [ordinary person] making a civilian arrest is to overcome his resistance. So that if he chooses to fight you with a gun-for-gun or maybe a blunt instrument, you have every right also to defend yourself for self-preservation – in law it’s called
self-defense. You have to bring him under your control and drag him dead or alive to the station,” the President said.
“If you have this coalition, you have a list of people who are there who can arm themselves. I will order the police if you are qualified, get a gun, and help us enforce the laws,” he added.