Drug addict turned priest: I become addicted to marijuana and shabu

Out of curiosity and peer pressure, the young Fr. Bobby Dela Cruz succumbed into illegal drug addiction and eventually ventured with selling it.
The habit of smoking Marijuana began when he was studying with the camaraderie of an exclusive, all-boys’ school in Manila which had gotten worse when he stepped out from college that had him replaced addiction with Marijuana to Shabu already!
“I started using drugs when I was still in high school. I just wanted to be ‘bida.’ Just out of curiosity,” he said.

On a one-one interview with Inquirer correspondent Nestor Corrales, Fr. Dela Cruz openly discussed the drawbacks of his youth that led him in and out of jail and rehab several times with mostly putting his family to shame.

Until one day, he heard of what he described as the ‘Word of God’ that made him realize his wrongdoings that transformed him into a man, now ordained as a priest.

Born from a middle-class family, Fr. Dela Cruz said he never really cared about his studies, citing that he got out of high school mostly by CHEATING and depending on his classmates. 

The pleasure of being into college was as fun as high school when he had other vices aside from smoking weed and became a member of a Fraternity.

“Of course, I got involved in many troubles,” Fr. Dela Cruz said.

Being a juvenile that he was, he said that when he got caught for possession, he could not be imprisoned for long and had to be released again. His family only knew about his ‘addiction’ already a bit too late.

“Actually, they found out I was doing drugs when I was already seriously addicted to it. If I hadn’t been arrested, they wouldn’t have known I was using drugs, but of course they were already suspicious because I was already acting strange,” he said.

Fr. Dela Cruz had to undergo drug rehabilitation services in Makati Medical Center and subsequently in Mandaluyong City for about a year. 

He admitted that the long time in the rehab helped him become more disciplined, but his personal issues was not addressed. With uncertainties in life, he was arrested again for illegal drugs and re-sent to the rehab.

Patching up with rehab again is far from over as he felt that something ‘was still missing in his life’.

He admitted that he no longer got the hold of the life he once knew and never thought of becoming a drug lord. Lucky for him, he got out of bail after his final arrest.

“I went back to what I used to do until I was arrested several times. It reached the point where I was sent back to rehab because I was caught. That was my last arrest,” Fr. Dela Cruz said.

“There’s nothing more in store for me. I was already hopeless. I was already content with what I had and what I was doing because I was already being rejected,” he added.

Already rejected by his family, Fr. Dela Cruz felt the unconditional love from her mother whom he said, never gave up on him regardless of his transgressions.

This grew him strength to overcome his weaknesses and decided to visit a church one day and was given an invitation to an evangelization session which eventually drew him to be part of a lay ministry knows as the Neocatechumenal Way.

“I have tried so many things in life, and then here are people promising me that I will be happy. People were telling me to believe in Jesus and he will forgive all my sins,” he said.

He had the urge to serve God more and later found himself being a missionary which led him to pass the admission test for Philosophy at the Christ the King Seminary. With God’s grace, he graduated Cum Laude with Theology at the University of Sto. Tomas.

Fr. Dela Cruz is now an advocate against illegal drugs since he was asked to head the ‘Sanlakbay para sa Pagbabagong Buhay’ as part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s ongoing campaign against illegal drugs. 

It is a drug rehabilitation program founded in coordination with local communities and families involved, government agencies along with 16 current parishes involved with volunteers.

The core members, Fr. Dela Cruz included, want it called as ‘parish-based community rehabilitation’ program with a spiritual formation centered through faith in God.

“We need faith.  That’s all we need. It may seem impossible, but we need to trust in God. I can’t offer them anything to them but to share them the blessings I received from God,” he said.

“To solve the problem with the 1.3 million addicts, which are mostly poor, you really need God,” he added.

Fr. Dela Cruz encourages drug surrenderers to also surrender everything to God as it would surely help the, rise up from their struggles. 

He is hoping that more and more lives of the drug surrenderers will be changed for good, the way GOD himself change transformed his own life.


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