There’s a rea­son tanods can’t carry guns

The Freeman - - OPINION -

There are ob­vi­ously a lot of ques­tions that de­mand clear an­swers in con­nec­tion with the shoot­ing to death of a man in Er­mita by a tanod of that barangay. But the main ques­tion that needs to be asked is why the tanod had a gun. As a cit­i­zen, the tanod had the right to have a gun, pro­vided he is able to se­cure a li­cense to own one. But it is one thing for a tanod to own a gun and another to carry it around, re­gard­less of whether he had another li­cense to do so as well.

A tanod, be­ing es­sen­tially a law en­forcer, per­forms cer­tain peace and or­der func­tions. But that does not au­to­mat­i­cally qual­ify him to be armed. There is a good rea­son why, de­spite hav­ing been in ex­is­tence for decades, the gov­ern­ment has never come around to al­low tanods to bear arms. And that is be­cause for one to be able to carry some­thing as deadly as a gun in the per­for­mance of peace and or­der func­tions, one has to be par­tic­u­larly trained and fit for the job.

There are spe­cific skills that need to be ac­quired for a peace-keep­ing of­fi­cer to be al­lowed to carry a gun. There are spe­cific rules of en­gage­ment that need to be mem­o­rized to guide that peace of­fi­cer when to use his weapon. There are also psy­cho­log­i­cal tests that need to be taken and passed be­fore a peace of­fi­cer can be deemed fit to be armed.

In sum, a tanod just is not a po­lice­man, no mat­ter how much his func­tions may re­sem­ble one. And the main dif­fer­ence be­tween the two, as stated in the fore­go­ing para­graph, is sim­ply too great for any­one to be con­fused about. Not only does a tanod have no au­thor­ity what­so­ever to carry a gun, he is in fact un­fit to do so as a peace of­fi­cer.

But ap­par­ently the tanod in­volved in the Er­mita shoot­ing did carry a gun. Oth­er­wise he would not have shot the man, who it had been re­ported was al­ready in cus­tody for an of­fense that was as yet un­spec­i­fied as this was writ­ten. There are even big­ger ques­tions aris­ing from the in­ci­dent, such as why the man was shot, and why there was an at­tempt to cover his mouth with tape.

But all other ques­tions will have to be sec­ondary to the main one about the gun. Be­cause with­out the gun there would have been no shoot­ing. It could not have been co­in­ci­den­tal that the tanod just hap­pened to have a gun on that day. All things con­sid­ered, it is very pos­si­ble that the tanod had a gun at all times that he was a tanod. And it could not have been a se­cret to oth­ers. Higher of­fi­cials of the barangay must have known. And they all hold the an­swer to why the tanod had a gun.

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