PNP Chief orders arrest of all armed barangay tanod

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 2) — Philippine National Police Chief Ronald Dela Rosa on Tuesday ordered his personnel to arrest all barangay tanod or community watchmen who carry firearms, following the deadly Mandaluyong shooting incident.

"Itong mga tanod na ito, they are not authorized to carry guns. kaya right now I am giving instructions to all members of the PNP: Hulihin niyo lahat ng tanod na armado. Hulihin niyo dahil that is illegal. They are not authorized to bear firearms," he said in a media briefing.

[Translation: These watchmen are not authorized to carry guns. I am giving an instruction to the police to arrest all armed community watchmen. Arrest them because that is illegal.]

He added, "Hulihin niyo ang tanod na may armas. Bawal yan. Ang pwede sa kanila batuta lang."

[Translation: Arrest all armed tanod. They are only allowed to carry batons.]

Authorities said three barangay tanod from Addition Hills in Mandaluyong chased and fired at the Mitsubishi Adventure bringing shooting victim Jonalyn Ambaon to the hospital. Police and barangay officials were misled into thinking the car carrying Ambaon to the hospital was carrying armed suspects, prompting them to fire at the vehicle.

Addition Hills Barangay Captain Kent Faminial earlier said he has never issued guns to his men, despite claims two of the tanod had fired at the vehicle.

Ernest Fajardo, one of the barangay tanod who had previously admitted his colleagues were armed, now denies he saw them carrying guns.

Executive Order 546 allows the Philippine National Police (PNP) to deputize the barangay tanod as "force multipliers."

Meanwhile, a 2008 memorandum circular by the National Police Commission, the agency that handles the PNP, allows barangay tanods to be deputized as members of the Police Auxiliary Unit (PAU).

PAU members are allowed to carry firearms, provided that they wear proper uniform, finish the required training and that the guns are registered to the barangay.

Metro Manila Police Chief Oscar Albayalde earlier said a barangay tanod may carry guns if he has a permit but is not allowed to use the firearm while on duty.

"If you have a permit to carry firearms, yes you're allowed to bear firearms but you cannot use it for your duty as barangay tanod," Albayalde said. "Hindi mo puwedeng ilabas yan at ibrandish sa labas yung baril mo[You can't brandish that gun outside.]."

One person was killed after police mistakenly went after a vehicle with men they thought were suspects in a shooting incident.