Indeed, as Commissions on Elections (COMELEC) Chairman Sixto Brillantes reportedly stated, “the entire national police force and the Armed Forces were already exempted” from a nationwide gun ban related to the coming 2013 elections. This is, of course, a no brainer. Police and military forces by the very nature of their jobs bear arms — because they supposedly do so so that civilians don’t have to.
So this makes the second part of Brlllantes’s position quite moronic: “As the Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the exemption is presumed to be there.” This follows recent reports of Philippine President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III seeking a “personal exemption” from said gun ban…
Comelec Commissioner Elias Yusoph said the poll body on Thursday morning received a letter from Mr. Aquino, who asked that he be allowed to carry around a â€œshort firearmâ€ during the elections.
â€œHe is asking for a personal exemption for his short firearm. He will go through the same process. No special treatment, just the same treatment as the others,â€ Yusoph said in an interview.
Brillantes’s leap in dubious logic in his lame attempt to pave the way of his rubber-stamping of BS Aquino’s “request” leaves out one important detail: the President of the Philippines is a civilian. One of the most fundamental tenets of Philippine democracy (and America’s democracy after which this former colony’s form of government is modelled) is very clear on this matter:
Civilian rule trumps military authority.
The fact that BS Aquino’s request is for a personal exemption and that he will “go through the same process” ironically further highlights his acting in this instance in precisely this civlian capacity of his.
Being Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces does not in any way subtract from the nature of the President as civlian, nor does it imply membership within the domain of the military command. Being Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces is an assertion of civilian authority over the military, not membership in it.
What then justifies the President of the Philippines bearing arms during an election?
Quite simply, nothing.
BS Aquino has a well-armed, well-equipped, and well-trained contingent of elite troops as his personal guard who, by the same overarching principle of a need for the police and military to bear arms, are there so that the civilian they are protecting need not be so armed.
The Philippine President’s lame attempt to talk his way out of these simple democratic principles have led him to use words that come at such a bad time — a time when America, reeling from the massacre of school kids by civilian gunmen is debating its own regard for civilians’ right to bear arms. The president’s words were not only lame but plain insensitive…
Aquino said that studies have shown that areas in the United States that have a liberalized policy on licenses to carry concealed weapons have experienced â€œa marked drop in crime statistics.â€
â€œAreas na naghigpit had seen an increase [in crime],â€ he said.
Perhaps, BS Aquino should try saying that while facing the grieving mother of one of the “statistics” of these shooting rampages.
To president BS Aquino, gun shooting is a mere hobby. To military and police forces, it is part of the job. Perhaps if Noynoy focuses more on understanding these subtle difference in job roles and apply a bit of perspective around the importance he places on his hobby, the question on whether he should continue insisting that he be allowed to carry around his peashooter while he is President of this sad republic will become a lot clearer to him.
It is certainly clear to most normal people.
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