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Palace reacts to Balangiga plaza incident: No truth to it!

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By Prince Golez

If Malacañang were to believe, there was no truth in reports that some Catholic leaders were ordered to leave the Balangiga town plaza before President Rodrigo Duterte’s arrival for the turnover of the Balangiga bells on Saturday.

In a statement on Sunday, Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said he talked to the Apostolic Nuncio and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President prior to the arrival of Duterte at the ceremonial place, but did not hear any complaint from them.

“It is absolutely out of the President’s character nor his style to cause mortifications during an event,” added Panelo.

According to him, His Excellency Gabriele Caccia, Apostolic Nuncio of the Philippines and Most Reverend Archbishop Romulo Valles, President of the CBCP, were even seated in the front row before and after Duterte’s arrival.

“(The President) likewise acknowledged their presence in his brief remarks. The Chief Executive even mentioned in his speech that the Filipino nation is one with the Diocese of Borongan in celebrating this historic event,” he said.

Panelo added, “All went well and only the uproarious rejoicing of the Balangiga people and the guests who attended was the contaminating mood at the gathering.”

If the claims made by the Diocese of Borongan on Facebook really happened, the official stressed that the incident was “not authorized and such unethical conduct can not be sanctioned by PRRD.”