MANILA - Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director General Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa on Tuesday challenged the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines to produce sworn statements of policemen who have supposedly come forward to testify on extrajudicial killings under the drug war.
The CBCP, which said that some law enforcers have expressed willingness to speak about their participation in summary executions, should not venture into a fishing expedition, said Dela Rosa.
"I don't know about that info. Sana naman 'wag gawing fishing expedition. Kung totoo man, present nila sa Senado, kunan ng affidavit. Kailangan talaga 'yan dahil we are talking about testimonies," he told reporters.
(I don't know about that info. Hopefully, they don't turn it into a fishing expedition. If it is true, the cops should be presented to the Senate and have their affidavits taken. That has to be done because we're talking about testimonies.)
"Kahit kami ay tatamaan... [Sana] ang totoo lang, 'wag ang fabricated o gawa-gawa. The pill may be bitter, but we can swallow that bitter pill."
(We will also be hit... Hopefully, it's just the truth, hopefully it's not fabricated or made up. The pill may be bitter, but we can swallow that bitter pill.)
Dela Rosa said the PNP leadership will not stop these policemen from seeking the help of the church, but warned that they may be punished if they go on absence without leave.
"We have to abide by the rules. Kung ma-AWOL sila, harapin nila. To serve and protect. Kung pupunta sila dun at magtatago, 'di na sila magrereport for duty, mag-a-AWOL sila, pero 'di namin sila pipigilan."
(We have to abide by the rules. If they go AWOL, they have to face it. To serve and protect. If they go there to hide and not report for duty, they can go on AWOL but we will not stop them.)
CBCP President Archbishop Socrates Villegas said Monday law enforcers have come forward to their spiritual leaders "to seek sanctuary, succor and protection."
Although Villegas opened the Ministry of Mercy of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan "at the service of these law enforcers who need the hospitality of the Church," the CBCP clarified that it would not tolerate those involved in illegal drugs and that the Church is not actively seeking out witnesses.
"Ang simbahang Katolika, hindi niya ipinagtatanggol 'yung mga drug addict at hindi rin niya ipinagtatanggol 'yung mga pulis na ito, 'yung mga law enforcers na ito na napag-utusan na pumatay," said Fr. Oscar Roque, member of the Ministry of Mercy.
"Ang layunin ng simbahang Katolika dito ay kumbaga mai-mulat ang mga mamamayang Pilipino na merong hindi tamang nagaganap sa ating lipunan," he added.
The PNP has several times denied deliberate slays under the war on drugs, saying drug suspects who have died in police raids had violently resisted arrest. -- with a report from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News