MANILA – Malacañang on Friday advised the Church against giving sanctuary to rogue cops, saying this might affect the government’s efforts in fighting the illegal drug trade.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said while the government welcomes the Church’s move, the latter should “exercise due diligence as there are drug protectors, kidnappers, kotong and ninja cops who want to destroy the ongoing campaign against illegal drugs.”
“[Furthermore] we urge a certain objectivity to avoid being used by said aberrations,” he added.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said earlier this week that some law enforcers have approached the Church and expressed willingness to speak about their participation in extrajudicial killings and summary executions.
"Their consciences are troubling them," he said in a statement.
He said the Church will look into the "sincerity of their motives and the veracity of their stories," and will be willing to grant them and their families accommodation, shelter, and protection.
“If such law-enforcers wish to testify, then the Catholic Church will see to it that they are in no way induced to speak, to disclose nor to make allegations by any member of the clergy or the hierarchy,” Villegas said.
Villegas had said they will get affidavits from cops who will be seeking sanctuary, and they will also be provided legal counsels.
President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug campaign has been marred with accusations of police abuse. These allegations were bolstered by the deaths of teenagers Kian Loyd Delos Santos and Carl Angelo Arnaiz allegedly at the hands of the police.
Latest police estimates placed the number of drug suspects slain in legitimate anti-narcotics operations at around 3,800, but human rights groups placed the figure at 13,000, which the administration has described as overblown.