DON’T DISS THE PRIEST!

From SUN STAR (Philippines):

Bartolome Fajardo, a policeman from the Pinamungahan Police Station, was relieved from his post while facing an investigation for allegedly disrespecting a priest, a police official said.

Last Sunday night Fajardo was allegedly alone in the police station and was asleep when Fr. Mark Rommel Barneso, the assistant parish priest of Sta. Monica Church, arrived. The other police officers were playing basketball against a team composed of priests. The priest wanted to report about a group of teenagers mauling a drunken man near the municipal hall around 10 p.m.

Before the chaos, Barneso said he was enjoying watching people putting up a Christmas tree in the town’s public plaza when a drunken man came and challenged everyone to a fistfight. The teenagers approached the man and pummeled him to sleep. Some persons in the plaza called for police assistance while Barneso walked away. But when he came back minutes later, he saw the same drunken man creating trouble again. Barneso decided to report the incident to the police. When he arrived in the police station, he greeted Fajardo. When he noticed the policeman was asleep, Barneso woke him up. Fajardo allegedly got mad at Barneso and asked the priest how he could respond when he was the only policeman left.

While they were arguing, people swarmed to the police station. After a teenager told Fajardo that Barneso is a priest, the policeman apologized to Barneso, who said he won’t file a complaint against the policeman.

The policeman later said he knew the priest, who was in civilian clothes and accompanied by a woman.

"Even if I did not commit a sin, someone would fabricate a sin allegedly committed me. It would be better to retire soon,” said Fajardo, who has two years left in his police service.

The police director said they will also look into the report that some of the police personnel were playing basketball.

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