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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Warning: Old Modus Operandi in front of Catholic churches still going on

I used to sell cigarettes on the streets during my teenage years, and I noticed that there is a modus operandi in front of Sta. Cruz church in Manila. When I was in college, I learned that the same activity is active in front of Quiapo church, also in Manila. I then arrived into a conclusion that a lot of Catholic churches have the same problem.

Last year, I came back to the streets and became a street vendor again. Surprisingly, I noticed that the old modus operandi in front of Catholic churches is still going on. Now, I think this activity has been going on even before I was born but no one seems to be complaining. It’s either they are afraid or simply ignoring it, but the sure thing is it must be stopped.

I am not a Catholic, and this post is not about religion. But I hope this will serve as a warning to the public that there are people who are using the Catholic churches to fool people and make money from innocent victims.

Here is their strategy, and I hope you will help me spread the word.

First of all, they come in groups so that the victim cannot easily refuse. They can either be old women, men, or anybody holding religious facts like prayer book, baby bracelets and even small rosary. They choose their victims that they think they can easily fool, which includes young people and parents who bring along their kids. They are usually present during Sundays and feasts.

Then, one of them will approach you or your kids and will pin these small things without asking permission. Afterward, he or she will whisper some prayers to you and even tap your shoulders. The worst part is you will be asked to give money to him or her, and even asked for a fixed price say fifty pesos.

If you will try to remove the pin, she will beg you and even use the name of the Catholic Church. If you insist, then you will be mobbed by her companions and no one around you will notice the situation. You will end up either being hurt or giving away your money even higher than the first price.

With this, we can call them extortionists and robbers in broad daylight.

So to all Catholics, here are my suggestions.

1.0 Avoid going to church alone, or look around even before going near the church.
2.0 If you have kids with you, watch from behind since these devils can be smarter than you.
3.0 Do not entertain strangers especially when they are offering something.
4.0 Be aware of someone who is about to approach you and immediately say No, thanks.
5.0 If you don’t want their offer, be strong when you deny them.
6.0 If she keeps on talking or explaining, ignore her or simply walk faster.

Remember that these extortionists are smart, so you have to be smarter.. Although some may that it is just a small amount of money, they should not be tolerated. It is still called cheating, anyway.

I am not sure if the authorities concern know about this, but I am sure they can do something. We must still trust the police and report to them such instances immediately.

I also wish parish priests will mention this on their Sunday sermons, so that their members will be aware about this problem.

And to these small time thieves, I hope their conscience will wake them up and find a decent way to make money. How can they feed their families with such kind of money? And worst of all, how can they use the name of GOD just to make money?

If there are two words that I can tell them, it will be….Bless you!

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