Cops validating murder claim vs. man who destroyed six religious images

The image of Christ  that was destroyed at the San Isidro Labrador Church in Binalbagan on Wednesday.* 

The police are validating the claim that the man detained for the destruction of six religious images at the San Isidro Labrador Church in Binalbagan, Negros Occidental, had previously been charged for the murder of a child in Metro Manila.

The suspect Rolly Semira, 39, of Barangay San Teodoro, Binalbagan, claimed he pried out the eyes of the child because he transformed into an animal.

PLt. Glen Portunes, Binalbagan deputy police chief, said they are validating the claim of Semira because they are not certain that he is in his right mind.

Portunes said Semira’s family also told the police that he was jailed in Muntinlupa for murder “but if he is 39 years old and murder carries a penalty of reclusion perpetua or 40 years he should still be in prison”.

Those are purely allegations as there were no documents presented as proof, he said.

“However, we are not disregarding those allegations, we are validating them”, Portunes said.

The police also want to subject the suspect to a drug test but need the permission of his family, Portunes also said.

He said Semira was banging his head on the wall of the Binalbagan Police Station cell where he is detained and fighting with other inmates.

Semira drove his tricycle into the San Isdiro Labrador Catholic Church and ran to the altar where he toppled and broke religious statues in the middle of a mass at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The images were those of St. Joseph, San Isidro Labrador – the parish patron, Immaculate Conception, two angels and the Crucifix, Fr. Randy Bayog, Binalbagan parish priest, said.

Semira said his religion is Islam and God told him to destroy all religious statues, “anting-antings and agimats (amulets)”.

But Semira has said he regrets what he did, Portunes said.

Prosecutor Stephanie Grace Apsay has approved the filing of malicious mischief and interruption of religious worship charges against Semira, Portunes said.

The San Isidro Labrador Catholic Church was closed following the desecration of the religious images.

Kabankalan Bishop Louie Galbines 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 acts in order to effect complete healing to our very hearts and minds, to our faith itself wounded by this unwarranted act”.

Masses are temporarily being held at the parish hall, Bayog said.*

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