Policemen confiscate protest materials during mass in Quiapo Church

Jeff Canoy and Josiah Antonio, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 27 2020 04:26 PM | Updated as of Jul 28 2020 09:30 AM

MANILA — Police authorities confiscated protest materials from a mass-goer inside Quiapo Church in Manila City, a political party's spokesperson said Monday.

Macris Cabreros of Akbayan Citizens Action Party told ABS-CBN News that the mass-goer, Tristan Bringas, is one of their members, and clarified that they were just attending the 'Misa para sa Katarungan at Kapayapaan' event organized by Senator Risa Hontiveros and Bishop Broderick Pabillo.

She said that around 12:45 in the afternoon, during the mass, the protest materials, which were just in the bag, were taken by from Bringas.

"After the homily, nakalagay lang 'to sa bag, 'yung mga placards. We were there to participate in the mass. And then suddenly, dumating 'yung mga pulis at sapilitang kinuha ['yung mga placards] habang nagmimisa," Cabreros said.

(After the homily, it was just in the bag, the placards. We were there to participate in the mass. And then suddenly, the police came and forcibly took [the placards] while the mass was ongoing.)

"This confiscation inside the Church while our members are attending mass is a violation on the part of the police, not a violation from our end," she said.

Policemen confiscate protest materials during mass in Quiapo Church 1
Manila police confiscate placards vs Anti-Terror Law from protesters from Akbayan Partylist during the “Panalangin ng Sambayanan Para sa Katarungan at Kapayapaan”, a SONA holy mass inside the Quiapo Church in Manila on July 27, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

"'Yan ang state of the nation under [Rodrigo] Duterte - walang safe na lugar, walang safe na komunidad, bawal magprotesta sa kalsada at ngayon kahit sa simbahan."

(That is the state of the nation under President Rodrigo Duterte - no place is safe, no community is safe, protests are not allowed in the streets and now inside the church.)

Hontiveros, who attended the mass, said she hopes to get feedback from the police regarding the incident.

"Umaasa ako na magkaroon ng feedback sa kanila dahil ‘yung mga kasama na nasa halos likod ng simbahan ay mayroon lang baon na mga placard. Hindi po nila ginagamit," Hontiveros said. 

(I am hoping that we can get a feedback from them because our colleagues seated at the back did not use those placards that they brought.)

"Baka baon lang nila para hahabol sa [protesta sa University of the Philippines Diliman] mamaya, at hindi po sila nagra-rally sa loob ng simbahan," she added.

(They might bring those for the protest action at the University of the Philippines Diliman later, and they did not hold a rally inside the church.)

Manila Police District Director Rolando Miranda said the incident will be investigated.

"I was just informed by the very good senator [Risa Hontiveros] na there was this kind of incident so I will look into that kung ano talaga nangyari (to what really happened) so that corrective measures or corrective sanctions can be implemented," he said. 

"Siguro nakita nung mga pulis na nandoon rin para siguro ma-preserve natin ‘yung sanctity ng misa. Hindi natin kasi alam 'yung takbo ng utak nitong mga tao na 'to, so, paiimbestigahan ko."

(Maybe, the police who saw it just wanted to preserve the sanctity of the mass. We don't know what's in the minds of the people, so we will investigate.)

Pabillo said during the mass that Duterte should bare government's plans to address the various issues hounding the country, including the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic during his 5th State of the National Address.

Various groups also called for the immediate action to the pandemic and for the renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise.