Cardinal Quevedo condemns attack on Cotabato chapel
‘horrendous sacrilegious act’

Cardinal Quevedo condemns attack on Cotabato chapel

Cardinal Quevedo condemns attack on Cotabato chapel

POLICE ON SITE Bomb experts from the Cotabato City police inspect the Catholic Church’s Santo Niño Chapel in Barangay Rosary Heights 3 that was hit by a grenade blast while worshipers were holding a Bible study on Sunday. —photo courtesy of the PNP

COTABATO CITY, BARMM, Philippines — Retired Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo has condemned the grenade attack on a Catholic chapel here on Sunday, saying it was a “sacrilegious act” targeting people in the midst of worship.

Quevedo, Mindanao’s first and only Cardinal who sits representing Christian settler communities in the Council of Leaders of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said what made the attack doubly reprehensible was that it targeted “neighbors gathered to worship God in a sacred place,” he said in a statement.


Two persons were hurt when unidentified men lobbed a hand grenade into the Santo Niño Chapel in Barangay Rosary Heights 3 here at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday while a Bible service was ongoing.


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Kagi Omar Pasawilan, the village chief, said residents Maribel Abis, 46, and Aniceta Tobil, a senior citizen, were hurt after two men on a motorcycle passed by the chapel and tossed the grenade inside before they sped away. The wounded women were still recuperating in a hospital as of Monday.

“The dastardly bombing of a Catholic chapel is a horrendous sacrilegious act that cries out to heaven,” said Quevedo. “I call upon our security, military and investigative forces to ferret out the perpetrators and bring them to justice.”

Puzzling attack

Fr. Benjamin Ariel Torreto, rector of the Immaculate Conception Parish Church that has administrative supervision over the bombed chapel, said the incident shocked the entire Catholic Church.

“The incident saddens us and why it happened puzzles us,” Torreto said in a radio interview. “Our lay minister and churchgoers have no idea why the chapel was subjected to [an] attack.”

The lay minister was spearheading the liturgy attended by about 20 people on Sunday, when the church was celebrating Pentecost.


“The congregation was singing ‘Our Father’ when the grenade landed in the middle of the chapel and went off,” said Torreto, quoting the lay minister.

Upon seeing the explosive, the parishioners ran toward the main door. The exploding grenade hit a senior citizen who did not rush outside because she was covering her grandchild.

Police Col. Querubin Manalang, city police director, said the police were still determining the identities and motives of the attackers.

Leaders of different political groups in the Bangsamoro region have condemned the attack.

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“Places of worship such as the Sto. Niño Chapel are sacred spaces where individuals come together in peace, prayer and reflection. The desecration of such a sanctuary with an act of terror during a time of worship is a blatant disrespect to the principles of humanity and compassion,” said Parliament Member Susana Anayatin, the executive director of the Bangsamoro Office of Settler Communities.

TAGS: Cotabato, grenade

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