Philippine National Police Chief Gen. Archie Gamboa said he does not consider the confiscation of protestors’ placards by policemen during a mass in Quiapo Church as a “misbehavior.”
Gamboa said the policemen only did so upon the request of church authorities.
“The PNP just reacted to a report that was given to us. It should not be placed in the context that the PNP misbehaved because we just behaved in accordance with the request of the church,” Gamboa said.
The PNP chief said they have pictures showing that the protestors were displaying the placards inside the church while a mass was ongoing.
“People should be able to separate politics and religion. Kapag nasa simbahan, utmost solemnity (If you’re inside the church, utmost solemnity should be observed),” Gamboa said.
The PNP chief said they reacted to the behavior of the protestors, and not the contents of their placards.
“It’s not even the placards, [or] the context of which they were confiscated. Ang behavior was that dinisplay nila and di naman religious, di naman show of expression ‘yon of religious beliefs, it’s some other things (The behavior was, they displayed their placards during the mass and it wasn’t religious, nor was it a show or expression of religious beliefs),” Gamboa added.
Gamboa said members of Akbayan Patylist are free to file charges against the Manila Police District.
Anakbayan had earlier said that what the MPD did was a “violation of the protocols of the police and is qualified as theft.”
“They are welcome to do so. It’s a free country,” Gamboa said.
Akbayan Citizens’ Action Party on Monday uploaded a video of the policemen seizing the protest materials of two of its members on Facebook.