The string of incidents involving alleged police abuse is a “systematic” problem in policing, a ranking Catholic bishop said.
“The string of recent events pertaining to police officers abusing their authority in the past few weeks could be indicative of the fact that the problem is systematic,” Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan said.
The bishop was reacting to a recent incident involving a dismissed cop, who cursed, hit, and cocked his gun at a cyclist after a road altercation in Quezon City.
The bishop is a vocal critic of former president Rodrigo Duterte’s ruthless war on drugs and known defender of its victims.
The bloody campaign against narcotics had earned for his diocese, which covers the three cities of Caloocan, Malabon and Navotas, the reputation of “killing fields” at the height of the drug war.
At the recent funeral of Jerhode “Jemboy” Baltazar, a 17-year-old boy killed by the police due to a supposed mistaken identity, he reminded the cops of their sworn duty as law enforcers.
“Our dear cops, you are not the law. You are mere enforcers of the law,” said David, who is also the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
“You were not given uniforms, armed, and being paid from the country’s taxes just to kill people, but rather serve as our protector and savior of the country you are serving,” he said.