Senators Panfilo Lacson and Vicente Sotto II have expressed their concerns and worries about the repercussions of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncements in dealing with criminals and drug traffickers in the country.
Duterte has stated his plans to reinstate the death penalty, implement a shoot-to-kill policy against criminals and offer a P5 million bounty for the arrest or execution of a drug lord.
The president-elect has also urged ordinary citizens to use their firearms in personally arresting criminals or shooting them if they resist.
“The situation could escalate into a serious peace and order problem in the entire country. No peace loving citizens need and deserve a ‘Wild Wild West’ environment,” Lacson said, referring to the rampant gun violence that existed in the United States in the 1800s.
The former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief also expressed his concerns about private citizens getting seriously harmed due to personally arresting criminals, as urged by the president-elect. Lacson said that arresting criminals takes more than just having a gun.
“While there is a provision in the Revised Penal Code that allows citizen arrest and self-defense is a valid legal defense for killing a person, the danger of the president-elect’s proposal is that civilians are not trained to gather and process intelligence or conduct operations against armed criminals,” Lacson explained.
Instead of personally arresting and shooting suspected criminals, Lacson urged the public to report to the proper authorities the suspected presence of criminals, drug lords and drug pushers.
The senator added that the incentive of a financial reward should come into play for private citizens who accurately report the presence of criminals in their neighborhood.
Aside from Sen. Lacson, Sen. Sotto also gave warning to private citizens about trying to apprehend and arrest drug traffickers themselves.
“I would advise citizens to be very careful. These drug dealers are armed,” Sotto said.
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