Civilian gun rights advocates got a much-needed shot-in-the-arm after the head of government’s anti-narcotics policy-making body openly stated that the election gun ban has been unsuccessful in curbing the rising tide of crime in the Philippines.
Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) chairman Antonio “Bebot” Villar, Jr. said that the gun ban may possibly be the reason for the apparent rise in violent crimes in recent weeks. He lamented that criminal elements, emboldened by the knowledge that legally-armed citizens are forbidden to carry arms, may be exploiting this period to carry out their nefarious activities.
In a recent meeting with directors of A2S5, a private-sector anti-crime group, Villar lashed-out at the seeming reluctance of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to issue gun ban exemptions to personalities who live under genuine threat. The DDB chief revealed that he also has been denied a Comelec exemption even while he is undeniably a prime target of local and foreign drug cartels.
Villar expressed his support to A2S5 saying that state policy-makers should learn to respect the citizenry’s right to protect themselves and their families. He admitted that law enforcement agencies cannot be counted upon to protect everybody because of manpower and logistical constraints.
In the same meeting, Villar formally sought membership to A2S5, saying the groups’ objectives were consistent with the DDB’s mission as well as his personal philosophy. For his part, A2S5 president Judo Bonifacio assured that the anti-crime group will actively support the DDB’s various initiatives against illegal drugs.