Palace received info on 'threat' vs Pope Francis
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang received "unverified" information of a plot against Pope Francis during his 5-day visit to the Philippines, a Palace official confirmed on Saturday, January 24.
Responding to reports of an assassination plot against the Pope while in the Philippines, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in an interview on state-run Radyo ng Bayan that security officials relayed the "raw information" to Malacañang "out of prudence."
"We were able to speak to those in the security establishments on that and I was told that they were aware of that particular piece of unverified information that was passed on," Valte said
She added: "So they (security officials) were aware, although they did make it a point to establish that the information had no details and was unverified, but because of the situation, it was passed on anyway. So out of prudence, it was passed on, it was received."
When asked, Valte said that the reported threat was not the reason why telecommunications companies disrupted signals in areas visited by the Pope. (READ: No network signal? It's for the Pope's safety says telcos)
"That decision to implement that particular security measure was made even prior to the reception of the raw and unverified information," she said.
The Pope's visit from January 15 to 19 was said to be a security nightmare for Philippine authorities as the pontiff refused to use a bulletproof jacket and vehicle during his public appearances that drew as many as 6 million people.
Security for Francis, the third pope to visit the Philippines, was personally overseen by President Benigno Aquino III to ensure that there were no hitches. (READ: PH shows it can secure a pope)
The first papal visit to the country, by Pope Paul VI in November 1970, was marred when Bolivian painter Benjamin Mendoza y Amor Flores attempted to assassinate him upon his arrival at the Manila International Airport.
Philippine authorities uncovered an assassination plot against Pope John Paul II before his second visit to Manila for World Youth Day in 1995. – Rappler.com