Bishop to cops, soldiers: Serve, not kill
Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros (The Freeman) - October 9, 2017 - 4:00pm

CEBU, Philippines — Bishop Oscar Jaime Florencio, auxiliary bishop of Cebu and administrator of the Military Ordinariate of the Philippines, said there could be other things in the minds of policemen, who were seeking the church’s protection as they turn witnesses on the killings they said they took part in connection with the relentless war on drugs.

As the bishop for the police and the military, Florencio urged the chaplains to constantly remind the armed personnel of the police and the military—including those of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology—that they are "sent to serve the people and not to condemn and kill them."

Florencio, who has about 150 police and military chaplains under his stewardship, said in a phone interview with The Freeman: "We are a forgiven church; we must also be a forgiving church."

The bishop said prayer and catechism are the best recourses in these times when the culture of violence and death prevails. He also believed that the killings happen because "no one teaches what is good."

Earlier, Lingayen-Pangasinan Arcbishop Socrates Villegas, immediate past president of Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, while being vocal against extrajudicial killings, said the church “will look prudently into the sincerity of the (policemen’s) motives and the veracity of their stories.”

Meanwhile, Florencio also warned against ulterior motives behind arming news men during police operations. "This is unnecessary for them to join police operations as journalists that way," he commented.

He favors newsmen actually seeing the actions happening, "But if they are engaged in firing, that destroys the entire purpose," he said.

"We should not endanger the lives of our newsmen in our efforts to know everything. Yes, they can sacrifice but not their lives," he added. (FREEMAN)

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