'Why bring placards inside Holy Mass?' Police defend seizure of protest materials inside church

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 28 2020 08:35 AM | Updated as of Jul 28 2020 08:38 AM

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Police on Tuesday defended the seizure of placards and other protest materials from activists during a Mass in Quiapo Church Monday afternoon.

Speaking to ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo, Manila Police District chief Rolando Miranda said a staff member of the church informed police that some activists seated inside the church during Holy Mass were showing their placards protesting the anti-terror law.

Authorities also have pictures proving that the placards were being displayed during the Mass.

"Kung ikaw ay magsisimba at mananalangin ka sa Poong Maykapal sa Black Nazarene, hindi mo kailangang magdala ng placard sa loob ng simbahan at ilabas ang mga placard habang kayo' a nananalangin. Ano ba ang layunin mo pag nagsimba? Manalangin at magdasal, ipagdasal ang bayan, ipagdasal ang sarili, ipagdasal ang kaibigan. Hindi para iladlad ang mga placard na nakalagay 'No to Anti-terror,'" he said.

Miranda said he had received information that Sen. Risa Hontiveros, who was inside the church, would hold a press conference outside the sanctuary after the Mass.

Asked why police did not wait for the Mass to finish before seizing the materials, he said: "Kapag ganun ang mangyayari, magkakaroon ng commotion."

Miranda also pointed out police did not make a scene when they seized the protest materials during the Mass.

"Hindi naman po nagkaroon ng commotion, wala naman pong nakapansin na kinuha...Mas nakakawalang-galang na may linaladlad kayong placard habang may nagmimisa," he said.

No person was arrested during the seizure.

Akbayan party-list earlier said it will file charges against police for the seizure of the protest materials.

In a Facebook post, the group denied that any of their members were displaying the placards inside the church.

"Walang nakabuklat o nakalabas na kagamitan, at hindi rin ito nagamit upang magsagawa ng kilos protesta sa loob ng simbahan. Malinaw sa mga nakuhang video ng pangyayari na ang tanging nagpasimuno ng gulo sa simbahan ay ang pulis na nangumpiska ng gamit," it said.

"Nakakabahala na sa mismong misa para sa Katarungan at Kapayapaan pa nanggulo ang kapulisan. Ito mismo ang pangamba ng CBCP pastoral letter: ang mala-diktador na pang-aabuso ng gobyerno. Maging mga simbahan ay hindi na ligtas sa panggigipit ng estado sa kanyang mga kritiko."