An image of a half-naked man being driven out of his silent, prayerful meditation at San Pedro Cathedral during the observance of Good Friday went viral. While it generated about 10,000 shares as of this writing, it also polarized people as Facebook comments would indicate.We are all aware about the job descriptions of security guards. At the airport, they take over the job of civilian employees as passport checkers. They also aid traffic leading to parking lots of large buildings. They become cleaners at convenience stores, occasionally armed with mops and pails of water. Last but not the least, they man the baggage counters at shopping malls, handing over claim tags to customers. They are poorly paid and their lack of training make them attraction to criminals who carry out daring robberies.
According to Facebook user Karlos Manlupig, a Tagalog-speaking person asked a security guard to drive away the man because “churches in Manila prohibit persons with mental disabilities and vagrants to enter its premises”. We wonder if the Tagalog-speaking person is indeed from Manila or simply a Davaoeño strutting that familiar Davao Tagalog acting as though he or she is more qualified to enter the city’s only cathedral.
As shown in the photo, the security guard, accommodating to the apparent visitor poked the man in the ribs in an effort to drive him out of the church. Mindful of the filth and soiled body of the vagrant, he uses a rattan truncheon. On the day we commemorate the passion and death of our Lord.
The man may be a distraction to some church goers, but perhaps he didn’t cause any trouble; he was praying silently when he was driven out of the church premises. Church officials remind us to dress properly when going to church, and wearing short sleeves, slippers or short pants are frowned upon. But assaulting a homeless, mentally challenged or improperly dressed church goer is not in line with this gentle reminder.
Mr Manlupig’s photo evoked a variety of comments. Some say he should have defended the man against the guard instead of taking the photo. Some applaud him for sharing the photo that might serve lesson to “hypocrites” out there.
Where do you stand?