MANILA – Quiapo Church officials on Wednesday said they are ready to face the investigation of the Joint Task Force (JTF) Covid Shield on the motorcade of the image of the Black Nazarene last Monday.

“We are ready to cooperate. We have consulted our councils and sought permission from our superiors. We asked the cooperation of all our Hijos Del Nazareno (HDN) and devotees to observe health protocols. The six HDN have groups disciplining their ranks,” Monsignor Hernando “Ding” Coronel, Quiapo Church rector, said in an interview.

Fr. Douglas Badong, parochial vicar of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene backed Coronel’s statement, saying they are ready to answer questions regarding the event.

“We are open if they want to ask us or conduct a probe. We are ready to answer them and hold responsible if there were quarantine protocol violations,” he said in a separate interview.

The Catholic priest added that they ask assistance from the police to maintain physical distancing.

“At first, it was organized. But when the people saw the image of the Black Nazarene, they were not stopped from joining. Supposedly it’s just a motorcade, Although, we did not allow the throwing of towels and go near the image,” he said.

On Tuesday, JTF Covid Shield commander, Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said an investigation will be conducted over supposed quarantine violations stemming from the procession which only lasted for an hour after the Mass on Monday noon.

Eleazar has directed the Manila Police District to look into the incident.

The image of the Black Nazarene was brought out of the church for the first time since the community quarantine has been implemented.

Religious gatherings are allowed at 10-percent capacity under the general community quarantine. (PNA)