THE Catholic church waded into the case of Kian delos Santos on Sunday when it threw its support behind Bishop Virgilio David of Caloocan City who has custody of the four siblings who witnessed the killing of delos Santos.
Early yesterday, a standoff ensued when Roy Concepcion, the father of the siblings, went to David’s residence to demand custody of his children. Concepcion was accompanied by agents of the Philippine National Police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) and members of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC).
However, after talking with the children, Concepcion, who was earlier detained for possession of illegal drugs, also sought the bishop’s protection.
His sudden turn around led to a standoff between the CIDG and VACC members and David.
The situation eased when all parties agreed to resolve the issue peacefully. The bishop welcomed Concepcion into the diocese’s drug rehabilitation program.
In a statement, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said the Church will always come to the rescue of the innocent, aggrieved and those who have less in life if needed.
“The Church has this [policy of]right to sanctuary. The Church receives those who ask for help which they believe are innocent, aggrieved, unjustly accused, threatened, who mostly are also poor and have less in life and don’t have the capacity to protect themselves,” former CBCP president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archibshop Oscar Cruz said.
He stressed that David has the support of the CBCP in granting refuge to Concepcion and his children.
Delos Santos, 17, was shot dead on August 16 during an anti-drug operation by police operatives in Caloocan City. Close-circuit television camera footage showed the teenager being collared by two alleged policemen before he was found dead.
VACC founding chairman Dante Jimenez on Sunday bewailed that the issue has been too politicised as he bared the attempt of the camp of Sen. Risa Hontiveros to get the parents of delos Santos and Carl Arnaiz, who are under government protection, to join them.
Arnaiz, a former student of the University of the Philippines, was shot dead by policemen after he allegedly robbed a taxi driver along C-3 Road in Caloocan on August 17.
His body was found 10 days after he disappeared.
President Rodrigo Duterte had talked to Saldy and Lorenza de los Santos, and Carlito and Eva Arnaiz and assured them justice for their children.
Jimenez questioned the real intent of Hontiveros and other personalities behind the attempt to get the parents.
“I will really hit these politicians hard for making use of these incidents for political purposes,” he said.
Concepcion, who was recently released from jail, sought the help of the VACC for him to see his children who were turned over by Hontiveros to David.
Jaye de la Cruz-Bekema, Hontiveros’ legal officer, said the children ceased to be under Senate custody on September 5 after they gave their respective testimonies to the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs.
Jimenez said his group has no objection to Concepcion’s decision to also put himself under the custody of the church. What is concerning, he said, is that a lawyer from Hontiveros’ office was also there in the Caloocan diocese when the senator had said that Concepcion family is no longer in the custody of the Senate.
“The case is being politicized too much which is bad for the victims. I will seek them out whoever they are,” Jimenez said.
The Manila Times tried to get the side of Hontiveros but there was no response from the senator.
JING VILLAMENTE AND JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA