POLICE authorities are strictly monitoring the rally staged by members of religious group Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) at the Department of Justice (DOJ) building along Padre Faura St., Ermita, Manila, a senior police official said on Friday.
Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman, said in a press briefing in Camp Crame that the situation at the DOJ compound where thousands of INC members have gathered to protest the apparent meddling of the DOJ in the internal affairs of the religious sect.
“Based on the report coming from the director of the Manila Police District (MPD) Chief Supt. Rolando Nana, the situation there still [remains]normal and peaceful,” Mayor said in the press briefing in Camp Crame.
The PNP spokesman added that, based on a text message coming from Nana, elements of the MPD station 5 and District Public Safety Battalion have been tasked to monitor the situation at the DOJ compound.
“The Policy of Maximum tolerance is being implemented by the MPD while the rally is being held at the DOJ compound by INC members,” Mayor added in the press briefing.
Asked if INC members have a permit to hold rally at the compound, Mayor replied, “I don’t have any information on that… but the police will maintain the policy of maximum tolerance.”
Asked what the PNP’s possible action would be if the rally at the DOJ escalates, the PNP spokesman said, “Our response will be calibrated depending on the prevailing situation in the area.”
When asked if the mass action of INC at the DOJ compound has something to do with the shooting incident at a café owned by broadcast journalist Anthony Taberna, a known member of the INC, Mayor said, “That shooting incident at [Taberna’s] café is being investigated separately by the Quezon City Police District (QCPD).”
Meanwhile, a source from the police intelligence community said they have received information that the rally of INC members at the DOJ compound could possibly escalate.
A source from the intelligence community who asked not to be named, said, “Information says that the protest action of INC could escalate into something like a mass action similar to what the mass action they (INC) have done during the time of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.”
The intelligence officer based in Camp Crame also said INC members holding protest action might attempt to conduct a siege of Malacañang similar to what happened during the time of the former president.
“These are volunteer initiatives of INC members and it [seems]that there’s no encouragement from INC leaders… yesterday (Wednesday) rally has some intensity,” he added.