• 188 Catholic priests and 58 other preachers have applied for permits to carry firearms
  • Catholic Bishops expressed dismay over the report that priests want to arm themselves
  • The PNP Chief said all Filipinos, including priests, may have the right to possess and carry firearms provided they are qualified

Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Oscar Albayalde disclosed on Wednesday, June 20, that 246 priests and preachers have applied for permits to carry firearms.

The PNP Chief said 188 Catholic priests and 58 ministers, pastors and preachers have applied for permits to carry firearms outside their residences.

As per the Inquirer story dated June 20, 2018, Albayalde said the data covers requests from June 2017 to June 2018. He added that the issuance of permit to carry firearms was suspended during the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections from April to May 2018.

Several Catholic Bishops expressed dismay over the report that priests want to arm themselves.

Bishop Pablo Virgilio Siongco David, the Bishop of the Diocese of Kalookan, was very disappointed with priests who want to carry firearms for protection. He said they should leave the priesthood and join the police and the military, instead.

Bishop Pablo Virgilio Siongco David of the Diocese of Kalookan (Image from UCAN Directory)

“We don’t even have to dwell on the morality of it. It is unpriestly, to say the least,” he said; adding that priests who wants to bear firearms need serious counselling.

Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines President Romulo Valles, Archbishop of Davao, rejected the idea of priests arming themselves.

“We are men of God, men of the church, and it is part of our ministry to face dangers, to face deaths if one may say that way,” he said.

PNP Chief Albayalde said under Republic Act 10591, all Filipinos, including priests may have the right to possess and carry firearms provided they meet the requirements for License to Own or Possess Firearms and Permit to Carry Firearms Outside of Residence.