All Saints' Day in Metro 'peaceful'

By Leila Salaverria, Margaux Ortiz, Tina Santos, Luige del Puerto and TJ Burgonio

'No unusual incidents'

VISITORS to cemeteries in Metro Manila Saturday enjoyed a generally peaceful holiday, as security measures implemented by the police and local governments seemed to have paid off.

Police Director Ricardo de Leon, acting chief of the Directorial Staff of the Philippine National Police, Saturday said that they have not monitored any violent incidents perpetrated by lawless elements.

"We don't have any unusual incident nationwide, but we have recovered some bladed weapons and bottles of liquor," he told reporters, citing reports from around Metro Manila and the rest of the country. "So far it's generally peaceful."

De Leon stressed that the national police would not stand down from its heightened alert status until Monday.

"People have converged at the cemeteries today, so we expect the crowd to grow tonight and tomorrow," De Leon said.

As of Saturday afternoon, no untoward incident had been reported in Manila's four cemeteries.

The peaceful situation was even noticed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who went to the North Cemetery at around 2 p.m. to visit the graves of her in-laws.

"Things seem to be in order," Ms Macapagal said in Filipino, referring to the situation in the cemetery. She added that the roads were not as congested as in the years past.

Western Police District director Chief Superintendent Pedro Bulaong also said his men have done a good job in securing Manila's cemeteries.

By 4 p.m., the crowd at the North Cemetery -- the largest in Metro Manila -- had swelled to 100,000.

Gang violence

At 3:50 a.m., gang violence erupted at the North Cemetery, where two youths were stabbed.

Christopher Jacob was stabbed in the back while Daniel de Vera was hit in the shoulder by members of a rival gang. Both were taken to the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center, police said.

Nine persons were also arrested for holding a pot session inside the North Cemetery.

And despite rules against bringing in liquor, 18 drunk persons were also collared. They were taken to a holding area and released after they sobered up.

The command post of the WPD received a report that a man was arrested at the South Cemetery for allegedly defecating on top of one of the graves.

Two mobile phone snatchers were also arrested.


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