Don't 'pigeonhole' PNoy on gun issue — Palace

President Benigno Aquino III has yet to comment on calls for a total gun ban in the country but Malacañang on Monday asked the public not to prematurely judge him just because he is a gun enthusiast.

“Let’s not pigeonhole the President. Huwag po nating pangunahan ‘yung Pangulo,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said at a press briefing.

She said Aquino has defied perception many times in the past, citing his support to the sin tax bill despite his being a smoker.

“Hindi naman po sikreto ‘yon (Aquino as smoker), but he still supported the passage and the certification of the sin tax measure into law, which has already happened and has already been [in] effect,” Valte said. Proposals for a stricter gun control or total gun ban came following the death of a seven-year-old girl from stray bullet during the New Year revelry and of seven people in the hands of a man who went on a shooting rampage in Kawit, Cavite, last week.

Valte admitted that proposals for a total gun ban “need to be looked at.” “We need to discuss this with him (Aquino). The proposals need to be looked at and let’s give him a chance, essentially. Wala pa naman siyang sinasabi. Huwag po nating pangunahan,” she said. A report on the Philippine Daily Inquirer said Aquino topped the executive category of the “Games of the Generals” shooting competition at Camp Crame held Sunday, defeating 102 generals and senior police officers. Valte did not confirm this but she said that the President goes to the firing range to relieve some stress. She, however, does not know how often.

Asked if Aquino is willing to support or certify as urgent pending legislations imposing stricter gun control or gun ban, Valte reiterated that these things should be discussed and studied first.

“Kailangan nga po naming i-discuss sa kanya, kailangan pong pag-aralan. Katulad po ng aking nabanggit, ang dami pong iba’t ibang proposal between stricter gun control to proposals for a total gun ban. So that has to be discussed with the President and hopefully we’ll get the chance soon,” she said.

She said Aquino's decision will depend on the contents of the proposals. “When you say comprehensive firearms law, to our mind, that would involve everything from the importation—rules for importation, rules for procurement, for requirements, etcetera. So we will have to see what is in that proposal for a comprehensive firearms law.” — Amita O. Legaspi/KBK, GMA News

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