MANILA - The head of the Philippine National Police rejected Monday the "Satan-like" depiction of his men during a mass action led by Catholic bishops calling for an end to the killings under the government's ant-narcotics drive.
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines on Sunday led thousands of worshipers at the EDSA Shrine, where they launched a prayer campaign to heal the nation and stop drug-related killings. Archbishop Socrates Villegas, outgoing president of CBCP, warned that "a curse awaits a nation that kills its own people".
PNP chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa reiterated police only kill drug suspects in self-defense if they resist arrest. He said the EDSA rally's supposedly demonic depiction of cops was "unacceptable."
"Baka ina-assume ninyo, nila na sila ang nasa good side. Sila ang mga taong may halo sa ulo at iyung PNP iyan iyung mga demonyo na may hawak na trident na fork. Parang Satanas ang tingin nila sa pulis," Dela Rosa told reporters at Camp Crame.
(You may have assumed, or they may have [assumed] that they are on the good side, that they have halos on their heads and the PNP are the demons that hold tridents, forks. They apparently look at the police as Satan.)
"Kapag ganoon ang depiction, sila lang ang mabait tapos kami dito sa PNP ay masasama lahat, that's unacceptable."
(If that's the depiction -- that they are good and everyone in PNP is evil -- that's unacceptable.)
Erring lawmen and priests, he added, will be judged equally before God.
"Kung ikaw ay pulis, gumagawa ka ng krimen, mananagot ka kay Lord. Kung ikaw ay pari, gumagawa ka ng kasinungalingan, mananagot ka rin kay Lord, kahit pari ka," he said.
(If you are a cop committing crimes, you would be help accountable before God. If you a priest perpetrating lies, you would also be held accountable.)
More than 3,900 drug suspects have been killed in police anti-drug operations in the past 15 months after they allegedly resisted arrest. Critics dispute that and say executions are taking place, with zero accountability, allegations the PNP rejected.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the government welcomed "constructive dissent."
"We reiterate that this administration does not - and will never - condone extrajudicial and vigilante killings," Roque, a human rights lawyer, said in a statement.
"Accountability is essential to good government. The president himself made a clear stance that any violation committed by the police during operations would be dealt with accordingly."
Roque asked Catholic bishops to work closely with government on drug rehabilitation and in its anti-drug campaign. With Reuters