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Pastor in drug case calls on ‘Jesus,’ ex-PNP chief

Aie Balagtas See (The Philippine Star) - July 28, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - A pastor called on “Jesus” and “Nick” as National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents raided the Christian church his family runs in the posh BF Homes Subdivision in Parañaque City.

Diosdado Bartolome Jr. tried to be cool as NBI agents kept finding sachets containing pea-sized portions of shabu around his house, which is behind the Charismatic Outreach Ministries Foundation, Inc. (COMFI) church his parents founded.

Bartolome spoke softly as he admitted to using illegal drugs but denied selling them.

“Those are just alum crystals,” he repeatedly told the raiding team, prompting some agents to laugh in disbelief.

When the agents discovered a blue bag containing palm-size packs of shabu, Bartolome started shouting.

 “Lord Jesus! Please forgive them, they do not know what they’re doing to us. Lord Jesus!” he said in front of reporters.

His voice grew louder as more packs were found in his house. These packs meant he could be held on drug charges without bail.

Aside from the shabu packs, the NBI confiscated a potted marijuana plant outside his house. Bartolome said he was just fascinated with the illegal plant.

The NBI said Bartolome’s house is where the pastor stores shabu and his mother’s house is where they use illegal drugs. The two houses are beside the church.

Bartolome and his family, who now run COMFI, called on God and prayed for help. Some hummed hymns with their eyes closed.

When divine intervention failed, Bartolome told his daughter to “call tito Nick. This is too much.” Before reporters and NBI agents, he and his daughter kept chanting, “Tito Nick, help us.”

When reporters asked who Nick was, Bartolome said Nick was his “cousin,” former Philippine National Police chief Nicanor Bartolome.

The pastor said his father and the former PNP chief’s father are brothers.

No relationship

In a phone interview, the former police official denied he is a relative of Bartolome.

“I don’t know the guy. His father is not my uncle. My father has no brother named Diosdado. I don’t tolerate drug use and I don’t tolerate illegal drugs,” the former PNP chief told The STAR.

He added that he has no plans to file charges against the drug suspect “because it’s not a big deal.”

The former police official said he is from Tarlac and has no relative in Parañaque.

Barangay councilman Ryan  Casanova added that the pastor has been making such claims since 2010, when the former PNP chief was still head of the National Capital Region Police Office.

NBI agents led by Joel Tovera filed charges against Bartolome and 13 others with the Parañaque prosecutor’s office.

According to the NBI, people flock to a vacant lot in front of Bartolome’s house to use drugs and drink liquor. To use the drug den, people pay P10 to 20, agents said.

ACIRC AGENTS ATILDE BARTOLOME CHARISMATIC OUTREACH MINISTRIES FOUNDATION DIOSDADO BARTOLOME JR. HOMES SUBDIVISION JOEL TOVERA LORD JESUS NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION POLICE OFFICE
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