Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi told journalists Tuesday that rumors circulating about a possible assassination attempt on Pope Francis during his visit to the Philippines are unfounded. “In the last few days there's been talk of this hypothesis of an assassination attempt during the trip to the Philippines. Cardinal (Luis Antonio) Tagle, who has his good sources, said the information is unreliable,” the spokesman said Feb. 11.

Philippine media have reported that a man affiliated with Al-Qaeda had planned to place a bomb to be detonated along the route of the papal convoy, but police had gotten wind of the plan and altered the route.

Due to Cardinal Tagle’s closeness to the situation in the Philippines as Archbishop of Manila, Fr. Lombardi agreed that the rumors are “unfounded.” Fr. Lombardi’s comments came during a press briefing on activities of Pope Francis’ Council of Cardinals, who are meeting this week to discuss matters of Church governance and reform. Pope Francis traveled to the Philippines Jan. 15-19 for an apostolic visit to the country, where he met with victims of the country’s recent typhoons as well as former street children.