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Many grumble after being denied of chance to see Pope at MOA

By: - Reporter / @MarkGiongcoINQ
/ 07:22 PM January 16, 2015
Aurora Antolin, 76, (left) was among those who weren't able to enter the Mall of Asia Arena despite owning a ticket to see Pope Francis on Friday. Mark Giongco

Aurora Antolin, 76, (left) was among those who weren’t able to enter the Mall of Asia Arena despite owning a ticket to see Pope Francis on Friday. Mark Giongco

MANILA, Philippines — Not everyone who came to see Pope Francis at the Mall of Asia Arena had smiles on their faces.

Thousands came — most without tickets for the event and are just satisfied with staying outside the venue to wait for the Pope’s arrival with a hope of at best witnessing the Holy Father inside the popemobile.

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But a handful — expecting to see the pontiff up-close — were denied of a once-in-a-lifetime chance.

“Mercy and compassion nga wala, hope pa kaya,” said a senior citizen when her companion asked if there’s still hope for them to catch a glimpse of the Pope after they were not allowed to enter the venue despite having valid tickets and IDs.

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“Where is mercy and compassion?” a man shouted at the policemen, who were ordered by the SM management not to let people in after 4 p.m.

Adding to the disappointment of those who were not allowed to come in was the authorities’ unfair treatment with VIPs, who also came in late, were still given the go-signal to enter

A 62-year-old postmaster based in Cotabato City said she and her 76-year-old companion Aurora Antolin were late because they couldn’t find the entrance to the arena.

The mall’s vicinity was packed and even reporters had trouble finding where the entrances are. Security guards and policemen securing the area know little and often guided already confused ticket holders to wrong entries.

Both senior citizens arrived here in Manila from their province on Wednesday in time for the Pope’s five-day visit and walked from Quirino avenue to Mall of Asia with many roads closed for the “Meeting with Families.”

“Ambassadors from Argentina arrived much later than us but only them were allowed to go in,” Antolin, who is nursing a slipped disc, said in Filipino as she sat on a ledge along Coral Way corner Diokno Avenue.

Despite the harsh circumstances, Antolin and most of the ticket holders who were reduced as onlookers, opted to remain in their places — not hoping to get inside but rather praying the popemobile miraculously passes by them when the motorcade goes back to the nunciature later in the evening.

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