Police officers from the Manila Police District (MPD) confiscated placards and other protest materials from activists who were hearing mass at Quiapo Church on Monday afternoon (July 27).
A video shared by Akbayan Citizens' Action Party showed two cops seizing the materials during the Holy Mass.
In a Facebook post, Akbayan Partylist said the confiscated placards belonged to two of its members. The group also said that the placards were not being used when they were seized by the police.
"Hindi makatarungan ang nagawang pagkumpiska sa mga materyales (The confiscation of the materials was unjust)," Akbayan Partylist wrote in a Facebook post.
"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 (None of the items were open, and these were not used to conduct a protest action inside the church. It is clear from the posted videos that the only ones who started the disturbance in the church were the police who confiscated belongings)," they added.
MPD Director Rolando Miranda, meanwhile, claimed that a churchgoer approached the police officers and said the protesters were disrupting the mass and taking out their placards.
"Minabuti na ng pulis kumpiskahin (The police officers deemed it necessary to confiscate their materials)," he told the Manila Bulletin. "Kabastusan 'yon sa bahay ng Diyos, eh (That's disrespectful to the house of God)."
However, Miranda admitted that the activists did not violate any law, and confirmed that the police did not return the materials to the activists even after the mass.
Akbayan Partylist said they will file charges against MPD because they reportedly violated the protocols of the police.
"Handang magsampa ng kaso ang partido laban sa mga pulis (The partylist is ready to file charges against the police)," it said in its statement.
"Labag ito sa protocol ng kapulisan, at kwalipikado ito bilang pagnanakaw (This is a violation of the protocols of the police, and is qualified as theft)," it added.