Bishop to respect witness’ family decision on custody

Bishop to respect witness’ family decision on custody
Members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) stand outside the residence of Bishop Pablo Virgilio David in Caloocan City on late Saturday evening, as they wait for further instructions. LIN REGINO

MANILA— A Catholic bishop assured his respect for whatever decision the family of a key witness to the killing of Kian Delos Santos makes about their custody.

Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of the Kalookan diocese said he is ready to release the family and other witnesses anytime if they want to.

“I am willing to release the witnesses anytime. But I assure them that we are just here whenever they need the Church’s help,” David said in a hastily press conference shortly before Saturday midnight.

Tension gripped the bishop’s residence in Caloocan City late Saturday after Roy Concepcion, the father of a key witness to the killing of Kian Delos Santos, refused police custody and instead sought protection of the Church.

Along with representatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, Conception arrived at David’s residence at 2:30pm to initially seek custody of his children.

David said the father, who is currently out on bail over drug charges, even gave him a “strongly worded letter” scolding him for supposedly intervening on the issue even though he was not a relative.

“Personally, I have no problem with it. I am ready to release the children. In fact, I even prepared a letter to be signed by the witness and her father,” David said.

“I also told them (VACC and the CIDG) that if you don’t need us anymore and if you want to take over their custody, go ahead.  My only appeal is take care of them,” he said.

The bishop said the children then asked for a moment together with their father. After the discussion, however, the family decided to not to go with the CIDG and sought sanctuary with the Church.

“So, there was a bit of tension. At first, the CIDG wanted him back their custody. But finally, the father still decided, ‘I want to be with the Church,’” David said. “The CIDG also respected the decision.”

At about 11pm, vehicles used by the CIDG and VACC were seen leaving the bishops residence compound. CBCPNews