Raps filed vs panel over 1st Philippine mass claim

Ben Serrano (The Philippine Star) - March 21, 2021 - 12:00am

BUTUAN CITY, Philippines — Members of a panel of experts tasked to determine the site of the first mass in the country are facing criminal charges for falsification and libel.

Potenciano Malvar, chairman of the Butuan Calagan Historical and Cultural Foundation, filed a case against the seven-member panel led by historian Resil Mojares before the Butuan City prosecutor’s office on Thursday.

In a 13-page affidavit, Malvar claimed the panel made “false and baseless reports” when it adopted the recommendation of Leyte-based historian Rolando Borringa that Barangay Triana on Limasawa island in Southern Leyte was the site of the first mass in the country.

He said Borringa’s position paper was mentioned by the panel in its report to the National Historical Commission.

Malvar is seeking P20 million in moral damage from each member of the panel for dismissing his position paper as ”mere conjectures and fictional account.” He said he spent six years of study and research, including trips to the birthplace of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.

Malvar and Borringa are both resource persons of the Mojares panel.

The Agusan del Norte provincial board had earlier supported a resolution passed by the Magallanes municipal council, which declared the town known as Baug 500 years ago as the “true site of the first mass.” Baug is now part of Butuan.

The resolution said Baug was the first spot in the country where Magellan landed on March 16, 1521 and held Easter Sunday mass on March 31 in the same year.

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