Palma prohibits priests from joining TokHang operations

By: Ador Vincent S. Mayol March 14,2017 - 06:38 PM



Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma has strictly prohibited all priests in the archdiocese from joining the anti-illegal drug campaign of the police.

In a press conference on Tuesday, the 66-year-old prelate said taking part in police operations is beyond the mandate of the clergy.

“I will not allow priests to join in Tokhang operations. That is not the area of our calling. I’m very sorry to say that while Tokhang may have started with the best of intentions, it has (now) rather gained unfortunate or bad reputation,” he said.

“Tokhang was an approach to call people to surrender, but it has developed to something palatable. If a member of the Cebu clergy would want to join the Tokhang, I will tell him no. My answer is no,” he added.

The Oplan Tokhang is a campaign that involves policemen knocking on houses of drug suspects and asking them to surrender.

To avoid suspicions that drug suspects who refused to cooperate were killed, the Philippine National Police invited barangay officials, priests, and members of other religious denominations to join them in the operations.

From July 1 to Jan. 30, the time when President Rodrigo Duterte prohibited all policemen from conducting anti-drug operations over a controversy, a total of 106,980 drug pushers and users surrendered to the police in Central Visayas.

Palma clarified that the Catholic Church is fully supporting the administration’s war on illegal drugs although the manner it has been carried out is highly questionable.

Since July 1, at least 7,000 drug suspects were killed throughout the country. Of the number, 2,555 were gunned down in police operations while the rest were killed by unknown assailants.

Although priests are not allowed to join police operations, Palma said lay ministers can if they want to.

“If and when, there are some (lay ministers) who feel they are willing to do that, it’s okay,” he said.


Instead of joining police operations, Palma encouraged priests to focus on helping rehabilitate drug addicts.

Last Feb. 21, the Archdiocese of Cebu launched the Cebu Archdiocesan Program for Drug Dependents (CAPDD), replicating two smaller community and center-based programs that reached out and help more drug dependents overcome their addiction.

The local church led by Palma forged a partnership with barangay captains, the police, and other agencies of government for the rehabilitation of drug surrenderers throughout the city and province of Cebu.

Since July 1, at least 300 drug surenderers were cleared of illegal drug use after taking part in two drug rehabilitation programs organized by Church-based organizations in Cebu.

The programs are known as Surrender to God and Lahat Bangon.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Read Next

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

TAGS: Cebu, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, drugs, illegal drugs, PNP, police, rehabilitation, shabu, Tokhang

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.