CHURCH ASKS AFP TO BAR PROTESTS AT EDSA SHRINE

Manila, April 28, 2003 -- The Catholic Church has asked the Armed Forces to 
stop supporters of President Joseph Estrada from going to the Edsa Shrine 
on May 1, the second anniversary of the so-called Edsa III.

Bishop Socrates Villegas, Edsa Shrine rector, in a letter to Camp Aguinaldo 
last week, said the Shrine "stands on religious property owned by the Roman 
Catholic Archbishop of Manila."

"The building and the lot on which it stands therefore can only be used 
according to the rules of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila, 
represented by His Eminence Jaime Cardinal Sin," the letter said.

"We are going to inform the rallyists that they are not authorized to hold 
demonstrations. The Edsa Shrine is a sacred place," a military official said.

We are going to observe maximum tolerance," he said.

He said only a small number of troops are posted at the Shrine but he said 
Camp Aguinaldo can send more.

The NBI earlier said he received intelligence reports that Estrada 
supporters will mass forces at the Shrine.

PNP spokesman Sr. Supt. Leopoldo Bataoil said the PNP leadership 
anticipates massive rallies from Estrada supporters, particularly the 
People's Movement Against Poverty and has adopted "contingency" measures.

"We have standard procedures for field commanders to be ready for crowd 
management control and ensure maximum tolerance," he said.

Bataoil said the PNP already instructed Deputy Director General Reynaldo 
Velasco, National Capital Region Police Office head, to adopt an 
"appropriate response."

Malacaņang branded as speculation reported remarks by former Sen. Juan 
Ponce Enrile that it plans to instigate mayhem on May 1 then put the blame 
on Sen. Panfilo Lacson.

"Hindi tayo mag-i-speculate tungkol sa bagay na ito. Alam naman natin na 
kapag merong scheduled rallies, ang ating kapulisan at ang ibang 
kinauukulan ay nagsasagawa ng paghahanda," presidential spokesman Ignacio 
Bunye said.

He said workers should not expect announcements of wage increases or 
similar incentives on May 1 as the wage issue is under the jurisdiction of 
the regional tripartite wage boards. (By VICTOR REYES, Malaya)

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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