To atone for their peccadilloes, dozens of policemen in Quezon City, the most populous city in the Philippines, were made to each carry a 30-kilogram cross on Wednesday and follow the steps of Christ.
Some 50 policemen from the 12 different stations of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) did just that as part of their penitence to commemorate the passion of Jesus Christ.
They were led by their director, Chief Supt. Richard Albano, and district chaplain Rev. Fr. Alexander Pardo. The group included personnel from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, the Bureau of Fire Protection and City Hall.
They went through the 14 ways of the cross set up around the Quezon Memorial Circle.
Among the participating policemen were those with excessive demerits, including those incurred from tardiness or absences and those charged administratively with less grave offences.
"This is a way of giving them penance so they would be spiritually enlightened and hopefully mend their ways," Albano said.
"If the Lord forgives, so must we."
A police station commander, Supt. Limuel Obon, said taking part in the Stations of the Cross was his way of giving back to the Lord.
"I always find time every year to participate. It is my way of making sacrifices, small as it is. I attribute all my successes to the Lord," Obon said.
"The cross might be heavy to carry around through the stations but I feel good after," he added.
The participants, including Albano, bore crosses throughout the procession, from the first station, where Jesus was condemned to death, until the last station, where Jesus was laid in a tomb.
Albano said his participation was part of his annual sacrifice and its application to his erring men was based on the belief that those who express remorse deserve forgiveness.
The penitence is part of the QCPD's activities for the Holy Week.
These include a Mass today at the QCPD chapel, followed by hourly vigils by local police units; doing the Stations of the Cross around Camp Karingal on Good Fridayl; and Masses on Black Saturday and Easter Sunday, when a traditional egg hunt will be held.