Cop Block Philippines – Police Harassment During Holly Week
The following is yet another submission from our friend ‘Nasty’ Nathanial Thomas who took Cop Blocking to the people of the Philippines earlier this year.
Date of Interaction: Good Friday, March 25, 2016
Parties Involved: Officer Cambe. Officer Bustaquio. Bulacan Police Provincial Office
Bulacan Police Provincial Office, Capital Compound, Malolos, 3000 Bulacan, Philippines.
Howdy folks. How are you you all doing out there? In this episode of “Life On The Beat With Nasty Nathanial” we find ourselves back in the Philippines, land of Crucifixions and Jailhouse Beauty Pageants.
I don’t know how many of you reading this are religious, but the Philippines is predominately a Catholic country. Every year the country celebrates it’s Holly Week which runs from what is known as Palm Sunday all the way to Easter Sunday. During this time a variety of religious ceremonies and rituals take place. Some of them are pretty tame such as the Latag Procession or the Chrism Mass. But others are far more extreme and get very violent, such as Flagellation, in which participants whip themselves violently in public. Yours truly has participated in Flagellation.
But by far the most extreme practice during Holly Week is the Crucifixions. This is where Jesus’s death is reenacted and participants endure the sufferings that Jesus did such as being whipped and nailed to a wooden cross. Yes that is correct. In the Philippines you can actually watch someone get nailed to a wooden cross in public. As the advertising slogan goes, “It’s More Fun In The Philippines”.
Through my contacts in Manila I was actually able to tag along and film a real life Crucifixion in Bulacan Province. I was really fortunate to be able to get up close and film the entire event from start to finish. It was almost as if I was playing the role of Jesus myself. This was really fascinating while at the same time extremely disturbing. One minute the man playing Jesus would be walking along the road carrying the huge wooden cross, which he’d eventually be nailed to, and then the next minute he’d be thrown to the ground and violently whipped by a gang of Roman soldiers. It’s not everyday you get to see shit like this.
Now a crucifixion would not be complete without a little Cop Blocking. Of course yours truly was there to document some police harassment taking place. Even those participating in a holly event are not exempt from being harassed by the police.
So as the procession was making it’s way to the crucifixion site we found ourselves being confronted by officers from the Bulacan Police Provincial Office. Of course they were speaking in Tagalog, but I could tell by their tone and mannerisms that they were hassling the participants about something. Through my Filipino friend Claude I learned that the officers were hassling the participants about bringing their own personal vehicle into the compound. Apparently the road leading in and out was too small. This is a bunch of b.s. because I have traveled on that road and I know that a car or van can maneuver on it.
Now here’s the thing folks. This incident right here is not so much about what it was taking place to warrant police contact. It is more about respect. Here you have a religious event taking place that the citizens of the Philippines consider to be very holly and sacred and it has to be interrupted by some prick cops on a power trip. I could see if somebody’s life was in danger or something serious like that. But this was obviously not the case here. I found this police contact to be unwarranted and downright disrespectful.
One of the things that continues to fascinate me is how the police in the Philippines react to people filming them opposed to the way the police here in the United States do. That is one thing I’ll say about Filipino cops. They don’t seem to care if you film or photograph them. In all the months I have spent in the Philippines I have not once ever experienced any hostile attitudes from the police when I film them as I have so many times here in the good ol’ US of A. The question I must ask is “why is that?” If cops in the Philippines don’t have a problem with you filming them, then why do they here in the US?
Nasty Nathanial Thomas