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June 3, 2014MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The Philippines is one of the Asia-Pacific region's highest gun-owning nations, placing fourth after Taiwan, Japan and Indonesia with approximately 2,314,411 licensed gun owners and 3,984,311 guns. When it comes to gun politics in countries, normally Conservative movements tend to embrace gun ownership.
In the Philippines, it is a mixed idea with the Conservative Party, which is considered the Filipinos' own version of the Tories. The Filipino Conservatives are a far-right group, that wants to re-establish full Spanish influence in the Philippines, as well as ties with the Spanish Crown and the Roman Catholic Church, wanting the Pope as the leader of religious affairs in the Philippines. They are against the officiating of Malay as the third official language, and against the teaching of simple and functional Indonesian to members of the Filipino Armed Forces.
Villa Ortiz, the party's founder is very pro-gun, and explicitly stated in his speech that the infamous gun confiscations by Ferdinand Marcos were a catalyst in the formation of the party.
Ortiz had said in 1970, "The hardest population to impose martial law on is an armed society. Filipino Christians need to be able to defend themselves, not only against street criminals, but political criminals like Ferdinand Marcos."
In an interview with Right to Bear Arms News in San Fernando, a city in the Philippines' "Conservative belt", Ortiz stated that he owned guns illegally during Marcos' regime - and he still owns those guns, along with an impressive knife and sword collection that contains a mix of Japanese swords, Swiss Army knives, and native swords known as "klis" and "barong" that he acquired from Islamic merchants in Mindanao.
"I knew Ferdinand Marcos was coming after the Conservatives, so I kept guns illegally. The Bible said to follow the government only if they're doing their job, but Marcos obviously wasn't doing it. Rememebr our motto, the pride of Catholic militancy that is the Philippines. Well, what is a militancy without guns?"
However, many others were vocal supporters, and in fact, against all gun ownership in general.Sancho Abelló y Terrazas, who served as the party leader from 1975 to 1981 and the party's current president, stated that owning guns encourages rebellious activity, which is un-Biblical - as it is against Christian value to rebel against leaders and that Filipinos are to remain loyal to the King.
"Gun ownership causes rebellion. We are taught, as obedient Christians to be faithful to our superiors."
Terrazas also states that gun ownership is a Protestant and Baptist tradition, and associates gun ownership with rebellious sections of Christianity, and even radical Islamists.
"Citizens have no use for guns. Gun ownership is a Protestant and a Muslim tradition, which is nothing more be a product of rebellions scums like Martin Luther King and those Moro leaders".
José Chavarría, who served as party leader from 1981 to 1987 refuted self-defense uses, stating that Catholics are to turn the other cheek and that they will be found guilty of murder.
"A lot of people want to use guns for self-defense are murderious. Jesus clearly said who lives by the sword dies by the sword. As obediant Christians, we are to forgive those that persecute us and pray for them. We are to forgive them and turn the other cheek."
However on the irony, Chavarría owns a Stoeger Coach Gun, which he explains is used only for pest-control. He owns a farm and a ranch, and deals with some snake and mice infestations.
"No no, I'm not against all gun ownership, if I was I wouldn't have one. People tend to misunderstand me. What I'm saying is that people shouldn't use them to kill burglers. I have a ranch, and a farm and we deal with a lot of dangerous snakes and mice, pesty animals. I need a gun to kill dangerous pests. That ranch is used to raise livestock that becomes food, we don't want to be eating sick animals because what they eat, is what we eat."
He also states that keeps his gun at his farm.
"When I'm not using my shotgun, I have common sense. I unload it, lock it up and keep it at my farm. I don't keep it in my house, where my family and I live. There's just no use, we have armed bodyguards to protect us."
Juan Barrantes, the current spokesperson had actually revealed that he himself, is a gun enthusiast and owns several firearms for target-shooting. Members of PROGUN, the main gun lobby in the country or the "Filipino NRA" have sponsored and supported him.
So despite the Conservative Party gaining lots of popularity, particularly from Filipinos interested in learning Spanish and wanting to restore Spanish influence, the chances of a Conservative president is near-impossible. This comes from a number of reasons, speaking to that the Conservatives want to install a Prime Minister in placement of a President. Since the Philippines is a republic, the Conservatives' goal of re-establishing ties with a monarchy was deemed un-constitutional by then-president Glorya Macapagal-Arroyo and current-president Benigno Aquino III.