OVER 200 priests and other religious leaders have applied for license to own and carry firearm permit, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Oscar Albayalde said Wednesday, June 20.
Albayalde said that since May, 246 priests and pastors have filed applications before the PNP-Firearms and Explosives Office.
Of the total number, 188 were catholic priests while the others were members or leaders of other religious groups.
Following the killing of Father Richmond Nilo right in front of the altar in a chapel in Zaragosa, Nueva Ecija on June 10, priests were urged to arm themselves as a form of protection.
Nilo was the third priest killed in the past six months.
In December 2017, Father Marcelito Paez, 72, was shot dead by motorcycle-riding assailants while inside his vehicle traversing Jaen-Zaragoza Road in Sitio Sanggalang, Barangay Lambakin also in Nueva Ecija.
On April 29, Father Mark Ventura, parish priest of San Isidro church in Gattaran, Cagayan, was also shot dead after Mass.
Albayalde expressed willingness to help the priests and other religious leaders get permits to own and carry firearms outside their residence for their own protection.
In Laguna, several priests reportedly acquired firearms following the killing of Nilo, Paez and Ventura despite opposition from the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
Caloocan Bishop Pablo David, CBCP vice president, earlier said priests who would arm themselves should leave the priesthood or seek for “serious counselling” and instead join the police or the military. (SunStar Philippines)