The guns of 1924 | Inquirer Opinion

The late Aquilino Pimentel Jr. as soon as associated how he accompanied a gaggle of Mindanao warlords to Malacañang for a symbolic give up to the federal government by means of then President Corazon Aquino. When media was referred to as in for the photo-op, somebody instructed that one of many warlords flip over a weapon to Cory. The visitors had been divested of their firearms and bladed weapons on the gate, and the press was disenchanted. Then, the person closest to Cory enthusiastically reached into his pocket and stated: “I’ve a gun right here for the photo-op.” What did the Presidential Safety Group commander really feel at that time?

In 1924, a Free Press reporter overheard a colleague saying, “If you wish to see a positive assortment of revolvers, go to the session corridor of the Home of Representatives.” An off-the-cuff survey by reporters revealed that many of the representatives got here armed to the session corridor. A minority declared it was beneath their dignity to hold a gun to Congress, however they admitted having weapons at house, and the required licenses to bear them. Solely 5 admitted having neither weapons nor licenses: Representatives Lozano (Iloilo), Melendres (Rizal), Aldea (Capiz), Asanza (Samar), and Fernandez (Palawan).

About 20 % of the representatives admitted having multiple gun—some claimed three! Weapon of alternative was the Colt six-shooter .35 caliber, however about 40 % most popular the smaller Colt automated. Age and class was mirrored within the alternative of gun. Senior representatives most popular small weapons, just like the .22 caliber that might be mistaken for a toy. And being “toys for the large boys,” some had theirs custom-made and ornamented with mother-of-pearl handles. Youthful representatives have been extra showy and “desire the .45 caliber, which bulks massive within the hip pocket and dangles as one makes his representatorial entrance into the session corridor.” That claims quite a bit about penis envy or compensating for inadequacies actual or imagined. Democratas have been within the minority and virtually all of them carried massive caliber weapons to make up with measurement what they lacked in numbers. Rep. Espiritu of Cavite, nonetheless, countered this concept by stating: “We Democratas do not need any use for revolvers in repelling aggression towards us by the Majority occasion within the Home. For me, this cane I’m carrying is sufficient safety.”

I wouldn’t be stunned if this cane hid a blade inside, just like the considered one of kamagong with carabao horn ornamentation proudly proven me by the nationalist historian Teodoro A. Agoncillo. After I requested concerning the tense ambiance within the UP Division of Historical past in his time that drove the mild-mannered Serafin Quiason Jr. (later Nationwide Library director) to maintain a metal tube in his desk underneath previous newspapers, Agoncillo brandished the hidden blade in his cane and declared: “Huwag silang magkakamali!”[Don’t make the mistake of crossing me!] I didn’t press him for particulars.

Going again to the Weapons of 1924 as reported within the Free Press, Rep. Fernandez (Palawan) stated he had neither gun nor cane. “My two arms are sturdy sufficient to guard me from any aggression,” he stated, “that’s why I by no means care to put on a revolver.” Rep. Vicente Sotto (Cebu) disagreed, the grandfather of present Senate President and vice presidential candidate Tito Sotto, was reputed to “sleep together with his gun.” Sotto defended his gun-carrying colleagues, saying:

“I see nothing fallacious about carrying a gun. In the USA, each congressman has his revolver. I’m an advocate of the free use of arms in order that the weak could have some private safety. Suppose a person has had no bodily coaching, doesn’t know how you can field and can’t defend himself together with his fists. With a view to repel a potential assault, he ought to have a revolver.”

Rep. Lozano (Iloilo) stated, “If these Representatives worry for his or her security from the group that they faux to symbolize on this Home, they aren’t match to grow to be representatives.” Rep. Rafols (Cebu) had the final phrase: “Caramba! What’s using carrying a gun within the session corridor? We’re not at conflict!”

We’re at present underneath an election gun ban and studying about weapons in Congress virtually a century in the past jogs my memory that congressmen in the present day don’t have to bear arms, they’ve bodyguards who do. One wonders how a lot has modified or remained unchanged by way of mindsets.


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