BEFORE criticizing the government’s war on drugs, members of the Catholic Church should join the renewed anti-narcotics drive to see for themselves what is really happening on the ground, the Philippine National Police (PNP) chief said on Tuesday.
Director General Ronald dela Rosa made the challenge a day after Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo junked the PNP chief’s invitation for the religious sector to join “Oplan: Tokhang Part 2-Oplan: Double Barrel, Reloaded,” which was relaunched on Monday.
Still, dela Rosa appealed to leaders of the Catholic Church to trust and have faith in the PNP and help the national police force in the campaign against illegal drugs.
Pabillo described the invitation as propaganda and that the PNP would just use the religious sect to its advantage in its tokhang (knock and plead) operations.
Dela Rosa told reporters at the sidelines of the turnover of 50 patrol cars to the PNP at Camp Karingal in Quezon City that the presence of priests, pastors or imam (Muslim religious leaders) would give more credence to such operations.
He, however, said that one reason why the PNP wants to be accompanied by members of the Catholic Church is that drug suspects also believe in God.
Since the Church has been criticizing the government and its war on drugs, according to dela Rosa, its members should join the drive to see for themselves how Oplan: Double Barrel, Reloaded will be carried out.
He disclosed that he is planning make the rounds of dioceses to seek an audience with religious leaders to reiterate and explain to them the PNP’s invitation.
“I will try to arrange for a meeting. I had been told that I should visit some dioceses. Although I am a Roman Catholic, I do not really know the organizational structure of the Catholic Church,” the PNP chief said.
During introduction of the PNP Drug Enforcement Group, through which the new operation plan would be implemented, dela Rosa promised “less bloody, if not bloodless” operations as every police sting should be coordinated not only with barangay (village) officials but also with the dioceses, which will represent the religious sector that has been complaining about allegedly rampant drug-related killings.