Dela Rosa slams CBCP: 'Kayo lang ang banal, porke kayo ang pari?'

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald dela Rosa is furious at the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) for criticizing cops who brought bibles and rosaries in their return to Oplan Tokhang.

"Hindi porke kayo ang obispo, kayo ang mga pari, kayo lang ang may karapatan maghawak ng bibliya at magsuot ng rosaryo. Kaming mga ordinaryong mga Katoliko, porke pulis lang kami, hindi kami karapatdapat? Wow! Kayo lang ang banal, porke kayo ang pari? Kami, mga makasalanan na?" Dela Rosa said in a Camp Crame press briefing on Monday, February 5.

(Just because you're the bishops and priests doesn't mean that you're the only ones who can carry bibles and wear rosaries. We ordinary Catholics, just because we are police, aren't worthy? Wow! You're the only holy ones just because you're priests? We're sinners?)

The PNP leaves it up to the police station whatever methods they want to employ to encourage drug suspects to surrender for rehabilitation. (READ: In Cebu, cops turn to CHR, 'Project Pokemon' to keep drug war abuse-free)

Dela Rosa said the CBCP's comment doesn't just undermine the PNP's campaign, but even the Catholic faith in the country. The CBCP is one of the fiercest critics of the PNP's anti-illegal drugs campaign.

"Instead na palakasin ang ating relihiyon, you are trying to alienate us from you. Sino ang masisisi ngayon bakit maraming umalis sa Roman Catholic religion? Dahil sa ginagawa 'nyo," Dela Rosa added.

(Instead of strengthening our religion, you are trying to alienate us from you. Who is to blame for many leaving the Roman Catholic religion? It's because of what you're doing.)

The PNP chief himself is a devout Catholic, having a mother who taught Christian Living to elementary children.

Dela Rosa's rebuttal comes a week after the PNP relaunched its controversial Oplan Tokhang. (READ: How the 'new' Oplan Tokhang should be done)

The PNP revamped the campaign after mounting criticism pointing to police abuse and human rights violations in what's just supposed to be a simple knock-and-plead visitation. –

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.