Nalzaro: Double Standard in Priest's Case?

By Bobby Nalzaro
Sun.Star [Philippines]
December 30, 2006

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has identified the priest accused of making sexual advances on female students during a Life in the Spirit Seminar (LSS). But like some media outlets, the NBI has refused to publicly name him.

Is there double standard in the treatment of priests involved in controversies? Why the refusal to name the priest in the LSS? Had he been an ordinary person, I am sure the media would have treated him differently.

I have identified the priest in my dySS Super Radyo program days before and in my Superbalita column yesterday. Why? Because my sources are credible and I did some research.

The Cebu archdiocese, according to its website (, has 276 priests. Fourteen are on leave and are studying abroad, the others are chaplains of various universities in the city. Twenty-eight are either retired or sick.

Of the 276, three are named Benjamin. (The erring priest was earlier identified only as Father Ben.) NBI sources said the victims and witnesses identified one of the three as the culprit through his file photo. (Sun.Star is withholding the name the priest until a case is filed in court—Opinion Editor)

My source told me that people close to the controversial priest calls him "Dong Ben." He was once assigned to a Cebu municipality but was later sent to Australia. While there, he was also accused of sexual offenses, prompting his superiors to send him back here. The priest stayed for a while at the Seminario Mayor.

According to my source, Fr. Ben has fled to the US. But immigration records show no person with his name left the country recently.

Meanwhile, Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal denied knowing the priest. But didn't the archdiocese claim it has suspended him? How can the cardinal suspend somebody he does not know? My source said the cardinal even summoned the priest to his residence and gave him a few sermons.

And even if the priest is suspended, nobody can stop him from performing his tasks. People will believe him because a priest "is a priest forever."


I acknowledge receipt of the e-mail of Kathy Shaw, former writer of Telegram and Gazette based in Massachusetts. She documents cases of sexual abuses committed by prioests. My articles on the LSS controversy are posted in Kathy's website at

( 0918-2198333)


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.