PRO-7: No priests, no problem
The Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) won’t require priests to join their Oplan Tokhang visits or any anti-drug field operations in the region.
“I have no problem with that. Anyway, asking priests to accompany us in the Tokhang was just an invitation,” Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, PRO-7 chief, told reporters yesterday.
Taliño said their office and the Cebu Archdiocese continue to collaborate in the rehabilitation of drug surrenderers through Church-based programs.
“We’re happy with the program done by the archdiocese. Maganda ang relations ng simbahan at ng mga pulis dito sa region (We have a good relationship with the archdiocese here). We continue to work together to reach out to surrenderers,” Taliño said.
Talino said he still welcomes lay ministers or any representative from the Church to join Oplan Tokhang which is headed by the precinct police chiefs.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma strictly prohibited all priests in the archdiocese from joining the anti-illegal drug campaign of the police.
The 66-year-old prelate said taking part in police operations is beyond the mandate of the clergy.
The Oplan Tokhang is a campaign that involves policemen knocking on houses of drug suspects and asking them to surrender.
While priests are not allowed to join Tokhang, Palma said lay ministers can if they want to.
In Cebu City, Mayor Tomas Osmeña said he has no other indications to validate President Rodrigo Duterte’s claim that Cebu has the highest drug rate in the country.
“Out of the population of Cebu City, more than 30 percent of our population are grade school and below. What do we mean by that? All the adults are drug users? When you say 70 percent, children are included. I don’t believe they are adis-adis (drug addict). Maybe none of them are,” Osmeña said.
“It is possible that 100 percent of the barangays are (drug-affected), but 70 percent (of the whole population), no,” the mayor added.
Osmeña said he wants to know where the President got his figures and information.
He said he was out of touch with the ongoing anti-drug campaign when his chosen police chiefs were transferred someplace else.
Camp Crame earlier relieved Chief Supt. Patrocinio Commendador as PRO-7 chief and Senior Supt. Benjamin Santos as Cebu City police chief.
Their transfer didn’t sit well with the mayor.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) announced last week that 16 out of 19 drug lords in Central Visayas are based in Cebu.
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