Only about 600 people were present inside the church during the recent prayer rally. The Philippine National Police estimates that about 2,000 to 3,500 people joined the procession from the EDSA Shrine to the People Power Monument. Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that the “Lord, Heal Our Land” event should not be taken as a threat to the administration. Present during the mass were Senators Bam Aquino and Antonio Trillanes IV and Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano. Former vice president Jejomar Binay who is an ally of the President joins the procession to the People Power Monument as a human rights lawyer. He is outnumbered by Senators Franklin Drilon, Rissa Hontiveros, Trillanes, and Aquino who are anti-administration politicians.
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Maximum Presidential Tolerance
Roque stresses that President Du30 allows constructive dissent. Those who have grievances have space to protest. “The Church was very clear. It wasn’t political,” said Roque. However, this homily statement of Archbishop Socrates Villegas casts shadows over his non-political claim: “No politician lasts forever; only God does. Turn to the Lord and turn away from destructive politics. Peace to you all! We respect you. We call you Honorable. Be worthy of it,” he said.
Pray for Senseless Killings
The intention to pray for the end of the senseless violence is rightful and the government supports that. However, it is confusing to single out the administration’s drug war that allegedly results to extrajudicial killings. Homicide and murder cases are already part of the country’s history since time immemorial. Crimes of passion, road rages, and gang wars attribute to these unfortunate events.
The Dominance of Catholicism in the Country
The turnout of the event is quite low for a Catholic country. Therefore, doubts are expressed via social media if Catholicism is still a dominant religion in the country. Perhaps, Christianity is but the many factions including the INC, Born Again, Christadelphian, Protestants, Mormons, El Shaddai, and others made it more made the data complicated to determine.
The misunderstandings are understandable. The venue itself is already controversial. EDSA is known for the People Power Revolution against the late President Ferdinand Marcos. The presence of the LP members also contributes to the controversy. Most of all, false media claims and reports that exaggerate the number of attendees and the use of misleading images just did not help the situation. That put the Catholic Church in a bad light.