MANILA - The capital city will probe allegations that several police officers exercised undue force against Black Nazarene devotees who tried to get close to the bier, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno said Thursday.
A man earlier claimed that a police official sprayed his eye with chili-infused water as security personnel and devotees wrestled for control over steering the carriage.
“We will look into it,” Moreno told ABS-CBN News.
While the government “respects” the devotees’ beliefs, police should not be blamed for injuries and untoward incidents, the Mayor said.
“Hindi naman kaila na most devotees are barefooted... you cannot blame it on the [police’s combat] boots alone,” he said.
“Without combat shoes, kahit nakapaa ang mga pulis ay maraming nasusugatan sa paa every year... Let us not find reasons to blame others,” he said.
Moreno also reminded the public that the police, which some devotees painted as the procession’s antagonists, also rendered sacrifices to keep the event safe.
“‘Yung iba nga naka-diaper because they are not allowed to get out or leave their respective area of responsibility,” he said.
“Marami sa aming mga enforcement unit volunteers halos 48 hours na walang tulog.”
“The simplest thing to do is to say thank you.”
While the tiff between police and devotees slowed down the procession that started swiftly around 4 a.m., this year’s Traslacion is still expected to finish earlier compared to previous years.
“Wala namang failure in terms of timeline,” Moreno said.
“What matters most at the end of the day ay maipasok ang Nazareno, mairaos natin ito nang walang aberya,” he said.
This year’s procession is expected to end after 16 hours, shorter than last year’s 21-hour Traslacion, estimates from the Manila Public Information Office showed.