LAW ENFORCERS involved in cases of extrajudicial killings (EJK) under President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody drug war have sought “sanctuary, succor and protection” from the Church, outgoing Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines President Socrates Villegas bared on Monday.
In a statement titled “To be Angels of Compassion,” the Lingayen-Dagupan prelate said law enforcers have expressed their desire to disclose their involvement in recent cases of EJKs and summary executions.
“Law enforcers have come forward confidentially to us, their spiritual leaders. [T]hey have expressed their desire to come out in the open about their participation in extrajudicial killings and summary executions. Their consciences are troubling them,” Villegas said.
Villegas said the Church was opening its doors to grant accommodation and protection to policemen willing to testify on EJKs, but would first look “prudently into the sincerity of their motives” and the accuracy of their stories.
“Within the bounds of Church and civil laws, we express our willingness to grant them accommodation, shelter and protection (including their families if necessary),” he added.
Villegas previously threw his support behind Davao Death Squad members Edgar Motabato and Arturo Lascañas, who had confessed to killing hundreds of suspected criminals allegedly under the orders of Duterte when he was mayor of Davao City.
Government data show that an estimated 3,200 “drug personalities” have been killed in police anti-drug operations, but human rights group placed the number at between 7,000 to 9,000.
A report by human rights group Amnesty International also claims Philippine police pay vigilante groups to kill alleged drug pushers.