Nalzaro: Probe on Priest an Exercise in Futility

By Bobby Nalzaro
Sun.Star [Philippines]
December 23, 2006

Efforts by City Hall and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to look into the case of a "mysterious" priest accused of sexually harassing participants of a Life in the Spirit Seminar (LSS) are but an exercise in futility. Why? Because the priest has fled to the US according to a very reliable source.

Anyway, I no longer consider the priest "mysterious" because I already bared his complete name in my DYSS radio program, although my editors in Sun.Star and Superbalita are still withholding his family name.

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The priest is Father Ben, but his close friends, especially the older ones, call him Dong Ben. I got his name from a source days after the media reported the incident. My source said His Eminence Ricardo Cardinal Vidal summoned Father Ben to the Archbishop's Palace. The cardinal, who is soft spoken, reportedly raised his voice when he confronted the priest about the LSS participants' accusations.

Father Ben was one of the seven priests invited by the Oasis of Love to hear confessions during the LSS. His previous assignment was Australia where he reportedly committed a similar infraction and was promptly sent back to Cebu. The committee on liturgy of the Oasis of Love surely knows him, but I don't know why its members have refused to help City Hall and DSWD in uncovering his identity.

Members of the Oasis of Love are honest and are people of good standing. But it looks like they are aiding some Church leaders in effecting a cover-up. That is why I am now starting to doubt their sincerity and obedience to their faith. Sala man kaha ang pagpamakak? Nganong namakak man lagi sila?

Is this not hypocrisy of the highest degree? Church leaders are talking about character change for our political leaders so we can attain prosperity and political stability. But never mind the politicians and us ordinary people because we are all sinners? But what about Church leaders whom we respect and treat like saints?

Cebu City Councilor Gerry Carillo, who also serves as legal counsel of DSWD, has threatened to file obstruction of justice charges against Church leaders who refuse to cooperate with their investigation. Pero ayaw na lang konsehal, di ka maikog ni Cardinal Vidal kun imo siyang i-apil? We will just pray that the Holy Spirit will enlighten them so they will tell us the truth.

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