By NITZ ARANCON
and JOHN PAUL BARSOPIA
POLICE stepped up security measures in time for the interment of Cagayan de Oro’s first Filipino archbishop, Jesus Tuquib, today.
Authorities said they expect thousands of people in and outside the St. Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral this morning where a mass would be officiated by Tuquib’s successor, Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, before the late senior member of the Roman Catholic clergy is laid to rest this morning.
The body of Tuquib would be buried at the back of the cathedral, near the “Gallery of Saints” and the graves of two Cagayan de Oro archbishops, American James Thomas Hayes and Irish Patrick Cronin.
Maj. Evan Viñas, city police spokesman, said the Divisoria police would lead a group in securing the cathedral and the thousands who are expected to attend this morning’s funeral.
City police director Col. Henry Dampal has also ordered the deployment of officers in civilian clothes to beef up security forces, according to Viñas.
Viñas said the security around the cathedral would be tight because the police want to make sure there would be no disruption of the peace and order situation during the religious activities.
Tuquib died Aug. 1, three days after he fell into a coma because of a stroke. He was 89.
The late archbishop was credited as among those who made Cagayan de Oro casino-free to this day. In the early ’90s, he mobilized 45 parishes under the local archdiocese and led them in opposing the government’s attempt to operate a casino here.
Tuquib was also one of those who led street demonstrations here to amplify calls for the then president Joseph Estrada into stepping down.
He had served as Cagayan de Oro’s archbishop for 18 years starting in 1988; he was the city’s third archbishop after Hayes and Cronin. Before that, Tuquib, a Boholano ordained as a priest in 1959, was bishop of Pagadian.