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Man destroys 6 religious images during mass in Negros Occidental

By: Carla Gomez - | April 04,2024 - 06:30 AM


religious images

BACOLOD CITY — While a mass was being held at the San Isidro Labrador Catholic Church in Binalbagan town, Negros Occidental, at 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 2, a 39-year-old man drove his tricycle into the church and rushed to the altar, where he toppled and destroyed six life-sized religious statues.

The suspect, Rolly Semira, of Barangay San Teodoro, Binalbagan, is currently detained, said Police Lt. Glenn Portunes, Binalbagan deputy police chief.

The family of the suspect said he had not been sleeping and appeared to be suffering from a nervous breakdown.

Relatives of Semira have apologized for his actions and were saddened by the desecration of the church, said Fr. Randy Bayog, Binalbagan parish priest.

The police filed complaints for malicious mischief, alarm and scandal, and interruption of religious worship against the suspect at the prosecutor’s office, Portunes said, adding that the damage to the religious images was placed at P300,000.


religious images

Bayog said Fr. Leopoldo Cahilig was officiating the Mass around 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday when Semira drove his tricycle down the middle aisle of the church until it hit a pew and fell on its side.

Semira then jumped out of the tricycle and rushed to the altar where he swiftly toppled the religious statues before a shocked congregation of about 80.

Kabankalan Bishop Louie Galbines said the images of the parish patron saint, San Isidro Labrador, St. Joseph, Immaculate Conception, two angels, and the crucifix were either damaged or destroyed.

The tabernacle was also disfigured.

“This untoward incident created a very painful impact on the faith and emotions of all Catholics in Binalbagan,” Galbines said.

He said the suspect was already in police custody and would be made to answer for the crime and damages he created.

religious images

The damaged religious images at the San Isidro Labrador Catholic Church in Binalbagan, Negros Occidental. | PHOTOS: San Isidro Parish Binalbagan Facebook page photos with permission from the Parish Priest

“While the physical and external damages may cause so much burden to the parish, it is the internal injury to the minds and hearts of the faithful that concern more to us. Witnessing desecration of the sanctuary and utter disrespect to the revered images generated so much pain and suffering to the people of the parish,” he said.

While the restoration of the broken images is urgent, the reparation of the internal injury and pain is even paramount, the bishop said.

“The church will remain closed for a period of time to allow repair of the images to take place, and this time will also be utilized for all of us to do penitential act in order to effect complete healing to our very hearts and minds, to our faith itself wounded by this unwarranted act,” Galbines said.

“I pastorally enjoin everyone to refrain from causing more pain to anyone. We unite all our prayers and I fervently hope that we all move forward and come out stronger and more dedicated Catholics at the end of this,” he added.


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TAGS: church, Negros Occidental

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