MANILA, Dec. 25, 2016— Cardinal Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato has condemned the grenade attack near a church in southern Philippines while the Christmas Eve Mass was ongoing.
The blast, which occurred some 20 meters away from the Archdiocesan Shrine of Sto. Niño in Midsayap, North Cotabato at around 9:20pm on Saturday, wounded 12 churchgoers including a police officer.
“I condemn this violent terroristic act against the innocent as a crime that cries out to heaven, a crime that every religion of love and peace must condemn,” Cardinal Quevedo said.
“What was a sacred celebration of joy and thanksgiving ended in tragedy and sorrow,” he said.
Assuring his prayers for the victims and families of the attack, the cardinal called on the authorities to bring the “heartless” perpetrators to justice.
Initial investigation showed that the main target of the attack by two unidentified men were the police officers who were deployed to secure the area for the Mass.
“Hence, the church was not the objective. It was the patrol car plus churchgoers near it,” the cardinal added.
Last month, a blast also rocked the archdiocese when an improvised explosive device (IED) went off outside a church’s gate in Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat at the end of the first Mass on the first Sunday of Advent.
At least two people were injured in the attack which the church official described as “pure terrorism”. (CBCPNews)