PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) chief Ronald dela Rosa said Monday, February 5, that he was hurt by the "theatrics" remark made by the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on the implementation of Oplan Tokhang.
“Nakakasama ng loob (I'm offended). Frankly speaking, sumama ang loob ko sa kanilang comment na ‘yan. Theatrics, the worst comment I have heard from the religious sector. I tell them napakasama na comment na ‘yun,” he said
“Ang ganda ng intention namin, ngayon pilit na pinapalabas kami na masama (We have good intentions. Now they are making us look bad). Theatrics, baka sila lang ang theatrics,” he added.
The bishops were reacting to the modified Oplan Tokhang implemented by the Eastern Police District (EPD). Members of the EPD's tokhanger teams carry copies of the Bible and rosaries as they visit the homes of suspected drug personalities.
Chief Superintendent Reynaldo Biay, EPD director, said they were hoping that drug suspects will no longer resist the police when they see the Bible and rosaries during the visit.
But Fr. Jerome Secillano, CBCP executive secretary on committee on public affairs, said bringing such items is just “theatrics.”
"Bringing those religious items during police operations is good only for theatrics. They are not essentially necessary," Secillano said.
"Let the police do their jobs with high regard for standard procedures and the legal rights of suspects," he added.
CBCP vice-president and Caloocan Bishop Virgilio David, for his part, said the police are exaggerating and that they just need to abide by the laws in conducting such operations.
He also said providing body cameras to tokhangers to promote transparency in each police operation is more important.
Dela Rosa scored the CBCP for trying to “alienate” the PNP.
“Ang sama ng tingin n’yong mga pari kayo sa amin na mga Katoliko. Instead na palakasin natin ang ating relihiyon (Instead of strengthening our religion), you are trying alienate us. Sino masisisi kung bakit maraming umaalis sa Roman Catholic religion, dahil sa ginagawa n’yong pag-alienate… Bakit naman nila kami alienate ha. I don't know kung itong pari na ito ay namumulitika na. Bakit ganun sila (What are they trying to do? Perhaps they are politicking)” he said.
“Hindi porke kayo ang mga obispo, pari kayo na may karapatang maghawak ng Biblia at magsuot ng rosaryo? Kaming mga ordinaryong Katoliko, porke pulis lang kami hindi kami karapat-dapat. Wow! Kayo lang ang banal porke kayo ang mga pari, kami mga makasalanan na, hindi kami karapat dapat maghawak ng biblia at magsuot ng rosaryo? (Are you, priests and bishops, the only ones allowed to carry a Bible and rosary? Do we, ordinary Catholics, not have the right to carry a Bible and rosary too?)” he added. (SunStar Philippines)