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PNoy defends Llamas for owning an AK-47 assault rifle


President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday came to the aid of his political adviser Ronald Llamas, who has been criticized for owning an AK-47 assault rifle. "After the evaluation, it was determined that there was a very real threat on him (Llamas)," President Aquino told members of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) in a forum in Makati City. "He’s involved in so many negotiations... There are people who would not want these negotiations to prosper," he added. At the same time, Aquino said the right to self-defense is enshrined in the 1987 Constitution "and even to the Churches that we belong to." "There are people allegedly trailing his children. There were people sighted in the vicinity of their house that were not identified," Aquino added. Militant partylist lawmakers have scored Llamas for owning a gun, saying such was not necessary as threats are normal for government officials. Senator Panfilo Lacson questioned why Llamas' firearm was with his aides when he was out of the country while Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago decried the alleged double standard for allowing Llamas own a high-powered gun. On Monday upon his return from Geneva, Switzerland where he attended the executive meeting of the United Nations High Commission on Refugees, Llamas said he purchased the firearm after receiving ‘credible threats’ to his life. The high-powered weapon was found when his vehicle figured in an accident Friday last week while he was out of the country. Aside from an AK-47, Llamas, who was able to join the President in practice shooting, also owns an M-16 rifle and three short firearms. All the firearms are covered by both license and permits to carry, Llamas said. Aquino and Llamas were able to discuss the incident Tuesday and the President seemed not bothered by it. The President even joked about Llamas in his speech before local government officials Tuesday afternoon. Llamas earlier expressed readiness to resign only if Aquino would ask him to which the President did not do when he talked with his political adviser. — Amita Legaspi, GMA News
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