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Bishop David says Lord ‘haunting’ police for killings, calls on them to repent this Lent

“It must be the Lord’s way of pranking them with a familiar image of victims many of their fellow officers had murdered extrajudicially"

The head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said the Lord might be “haunting” policemen for the spate of drug-related killings in the past and might be calling them “to repent and do penance for their crimes.”

Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan, CBCP president, made the comment in a social media post on Thursday after news reports said policemen at a checkpoint in the southern Philippines mistook a wrapped statue of the dead Christ (Santo Entierro) as a victim of extra-judicial killing.

“It must be the Lord’s way of pranking them with a familiar image of victims many of their fellow officers had murdered extrajudicially during the previous regime’s infamous ‘war against illegal drugs,’” said Bishop David in a Facebook post.

He said cadavers wrapped in plastic and packaging tape “were almost a daily sight in our slum communities in Caloocan, Malabon and Navotas especially in the years 2017 and 2018.”

“Now it’s the Lord haunting them and calling them during this season of Lent to repent and do penance for their crimes,” said the prelate.

In an earlier post on Facebook, Father Jonel Peroy of President Roxas town in Cotabato province narrated how police officers stopped his vehicle carrying a life-size Santo Entierro wrapped in plastic.

He said he was driving back home from Davao when he was stopped by policemen as he was approaching Kidapawan City, the provincial capital of Cotabato.

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“That looks like a dead person you have inside your car,” said a policeman in Cebuano.

The priest said he was perspiring when he tried to explain to the policemen that what they saw was only a plaster sculpture of the dead Christ.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that the lawmen would have none of it and insisted on checking as they were doing a plain view inspection.

Photo from the Facebook page of Amz Cagayan

As he stepped out of his vehicle, the priest had a quick glance at his cargo through the car window and agreed that it really looked like a man wrapped in plastic.

“They asked me to [alight] to take a close look at what I had inside my car. They really suspected that something [was off] because of how my cargo [appeared]; it really looked like a dead man, wrapped in plastic. Of course, it was the dead Christ. I was really perspiring,” the priest wrote on his Facebook page.

“I unwrapped the Santo Entierro and told them that I’m a priest so that they would stop asking so many questions,” he said.

It was only then that the policemen realized that it was, indeed, the image of the dead Christ.

“We’re really sorry, Father, we thought you just salvaged a man,” one of the officers said.

“Sir, just to tell you, I did not salvage Christ,” the priest replied in jest.

The word “salvage” is often used by the Philippine media when referring to murder cases wherein the victims were put to death for being suspected criminals.

During the Holy Week, Churches display the Santo Entierro after the Seven Last Words at 3 p.m. on Good Friday, when Jesus Christ was said to have died on the cross.

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