WHILE everyone is busy commemorating the All Saints’ Day, tension sparked at the Manila Memorial Park (MMP) in Parañaque City when two prelates engaged into dogmatic confrontation.
The tension erupted when MMP security personnel nabbed Rev. Ben Ponteres, dressed in cassock, when he tried to give blessings inside the cemetery.
Ponteres, who identified himself as a prelate of the Church for Christ, was confronted by Fr. Carmelo Estores, the parish priest of the Our Lady of Peace and who is also the chaplain of the MMP chapel.
Estores told Ponteres to respect the Catholic’s observance of All Saints’ Days claiming that the latter is just giving blessing in exchange for a donation from the family of the dead whom he blessed.
But Ponteres insisted that he is a legitimate Catholic priest, although independent from the Roman Catholics that dominate the country.
“Please respect us Catholics in the observance of this very important occasion,” Estores told Ponteres.
The confrontation led to Biblical debate between the two prelates wherein Ponteres even traced how Filipino Catholic priests then decided to declare independence from the Roman Catholic church during the Spanish colonization.
At the end, Estores prevented Ponteres to continue his activity, who in turn, decided to just transfer to a public cemetery.
Another Christian pastor identified as Carlo Buenaventura of the Christian Missionaries was also prevented from giving blessing inside the cemetery.
MMP park manager Lamberto Peña, explained that they have coordinated with the Our Lady of Peace parish to prevent fake priests from giving blessings inside the cemetery.
“They just take advantage of the occasion to dupe people, they give blessings and they charge fees afterwards for that service which is supposed to be free,” he told The Manila Times in an interview.
Aside from the said confrontation, no other untoward incidents were reported at the MMP.
“The observance of All Saints’ Day was peaceful and orderly. We hope that this will continue until November 3,” added Peña.
RITCHIE A. HORARIO