MANILA — Complaints against policemen who manned a mammoth procession of a black image of Jesus Christ in downtown Manila "will be assessed", the officer-in-charge of the Philippine National Police said Friday.
Thursday's Traslacion, which transports the 400-year-old Black Nazarene from the Quirino Grandstand to the Quiapo Church, ended earlier than usual after policemen took charge of the procession's start, instead of just securing its perimeter like in recent years.
Some devotees, however, claimed policemen shoved them. Jun Veneracion, a journalist covering the event, also said southern Metro Manila police chief Brig. Gen. Nolasco Bathan snatched his phone and deleted his video of a scuffle between lawmen and devotees.
"All of these thing will be assessed. If there is a need to investigate then we will investigate," PNP officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa told radio DZMM.
Gamboa, however, said he was "leaving everything" to the Metro Manila police, which had "powers to take the appropriate disciplinary measures" and submit recommendations to him.
Officers should practice "maximum tolerance" towards devotees, he said.
"Pero kung andoon ka mismo, siyempre tao rin naman ang mga kapulisan kaya nagkakaroon ng mga ganoong actuation," he added.
(But if you're there, of course policemen are also human, which is why there are such actuation.)
The official also said he was "satisfied" with the police's performance during the Traslacion and that officers succeeded in "controlling and putting up security measures."
QUIAPO CHURCH THANKS COPS
Quiapo Church vicar Fr. Douglas Badong said he had discussed "initial observations" with the police and the 2 sides might schedule a formal evaluation.
He also thanked the police, saying: "Malaking pasasalamat talaga namin sa napakalaking sakripisyo din na ginawa nila. Biro mo, mula umaga and'yan sila."
(We have enormous gratitude for their sacrifice. Imagine, they were there since morning.)
He also told devotees: "Sana iyong pang-unawa po nila, lawakan po iyong kanilang pag-iisip, mas palalimin iyong tunay na kahulugan ng debosyon."
"Lahat naman po ay ginagawa namin para sa kanilang kaligtasan, nang mas maisakatuparan natin ang tradisyon at kultura nang mas maayos, nang hindi nasasaktan at walang nagbuwis buhay," he added.
(I wish that they will broaden their understanding, their thinking, deepen the meaning of true devotion. We are doing everything for their safety, so that we can carry on tradition and culture more safely, without anyone getting hurt and sacrificing their life.)
Some 2.3 million devotees joined the Traslacion, with many hoping that the slightest touch of the Black Nazarene would heal illness and grant prayers.
This year's edition of one of the biggest shows of Catholic zeal took 16 hours, nearly 5 hours earlier than the Traslacion last year.