Govt to Catholic Church: Be discerning in giving refuge to ‘cop witnesses’


LEADERS of the Catholic Church should be more discerning in providing refuge for policemen claiming to be witnesses on extrajudicial killings under the government’s ongoing anti-drug campaign, officials said Friday.

Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella and Maj.Gen. Restituto Padilla, military spokesman, made the statements in connection with the announcement of Lingayen Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, former Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president, that a number of conscience-stricken policemen sought the Church’s protection and were willing to testify on the killings.

A Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released on Thursday also showed that seven out of 10 Filipinos feared getting killed amid the government’s anti-drug operations.

“We welcome the efforts of the Church to help these cops to mend their ways. However, we hope the Church exercises due diligence as there are drug protectors, kidnappers, kotong (police officials into extortion) and ninja (corrupt) cops who want to destroy the ongoing campaign against illegal drugs,” Abella said in a statement.

“We urge a certain objectivity to avoid being used by said aberrations,” Abella added.

Padilla issued a similar warning: “We are just pointing out that not all those who seek the help of the Church, all want to renew their faith, but are just trying to escape liability for their old ways. We welcome the efforts of the Church as part of the community, but they should also be discerning,” Padilla said.

Solicitor General Jose Calida also said this week that the communist rebels (communists groups), yellows (members of the Liberal Party) and the Catholic Church were allegedly conspiring to oust President Rodrigo Duterte from office. LLANESCA T. PANTI







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