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Diocese admits some priests already own guns

By MARTIN SADONGDONG

The Philippine National Police (PNP) bared that several priests in San Pablo, Laguna are already gun owners as the national police organization reiterated its support in arming members.

While the clergy did not deny the fact that a number of priests own specific firearms, the acquisition of guns happened before attacks against clerics happened, killing three of them the past six months.

“Dati na po silang may baril at iba-iba ang kadahilanan. May ibang kasama sa sports, merong gusto talaga magkaroon ng baril,” clarified Bishop Buenaventura Famadico of the Diocese of San Pablo, Laguna.

For his part PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said he has no qualms about seeing priests carry firearms legally.

“Ang stand natin dyan pare-pareho naman, pantay-pantay ang pagtingin natin sa pagserve sa kababayan. If they think they deserve to be armed and of course qualified, why not kung gusto talaga,” said Albayalde.

However, Famadico said he has already met with the said priests during a clergy recollection on Monday and urged them to dispose their guns as having one is against the teachings of the Catholic Church.

“Dito sa amin napagusapan na hindi dapat dahil una, kami ay mga pari at tagasunod ni Kristo. Ang baril ay instrument of violence kaya hindi nagkakapanagpo yung dalawa na ‘yun,” Famadico said.

Famadico further emphasized that owning a gun cannot ensure that one is safe from harm, instead, what must be done is to strictly enforce the laws in order to curb criminality.

“Maraming paraan para maprotektahan ang mga pari na hindi kinakailangan na magkaroon ng baril. Hindi porket ikaw ay may baril protektado ka na. Kapag ikaw ay nagmimisa, alangan namang dalhin mo ang baril sa simbahan?,” he added.

The Laguna prelate also revealed that they already arrived at a common policy when it comes to guns during their recent clergy assembly.

“We came up with a common policy. Each will not own a gun. Personally, I do not approve of priests owning a gun for whatever purposes,” said Famadico.

The issue on arming priests stemmed from the killings of three members of the clergy in the last six months, including the sensational case of Father Richmond Nilo in Nueva Ecija. (With a report from Leslie Ann G. Aquino)

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