CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 19 August 2017

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Bishops cop a tough ask

MANILA (SE): The bishops have copped a tough ask from the chief of the Philippine National Police, Ronald dela Rosa, when he called for a little bit of trust from the Church in the national campaign against drugs, which to date has left almost 8,000 dead bodies, mostly of poor people, strewn around the country.

The president, Rodrigo Duterte, closed down his campaign for a couple of months when it was revealed that his trusted force had dragged a Korean citizen into its headquarters at Camp Crame and murdered him late last year.

Although he now claims that rogue elements have been removed from the force, it is doubtful anyone, including himself, believes the claim, and dela Rosa is asking for Church support for what he maintains will be a less bloody and possibly even bloodless resurrection of the campaign.

CBCP News reported that the bishops have rejected an invitation to assign a priest to drug raids, with Bishop Broderick Pabillo saying that dela Rosa is only trying to drag the Church into a propaganda campaign.

Although the Philippine hierarchy, with the exception of Bishop Pabillo and Archbishop Socrates Villegas has remained mute on the murderous campaign, the Church has been mounting resistance, especially under the leadership of the sisters groups and, the urban poor, peasant movements and students.

An exasperated dela Rosa publicly proclaimed his own faith and membership in the Church, while at the same time decrying the bishops’ snub, saying, “Is it not that if you are with the Church you should trust others?”

Dela Rosa admitted that he wants the priests to give a bit of credibility to the killing fields, but Bishop Pabillo retorted that it is not right for priests to work with the armed operatives of the national police just to give credibility to a non-credible and immoral campaign.

However, the bishops concluded with the awkwardly contradictory statement that while they support the campaign against drugs, the blood-letting, which is the campaign, cannot be supported.

With the confusion of issues on both sides of the fence, the bishops certainly have copped a pretty tough ask from the police chief who leads what is well known across the country to be a highly corrupt force.

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