Expert in Church Law Sees Long Probe of Parañaque Diocese Fund Issue Case

By Jocelyn Uy
Philippine Daily Inquirer
June 19, 2012

MANILA, Philippines A Catholic prelate who is an expert in the laws of the Church said on Tuesday that priests and lay leaders in the Diocese of Parañaque City would be facing a long battle to remove their own bishop whom they have accused of misuse of funds over P3.3 million.

On Monday, reports have reached the Church hierarchy that priests and the lay people of the Parañaque diocese have filed a complaint before the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto against Parañaque Bishop Jesse Mercado for abuse of funds.

The allegedly misused funds were supposedly related to earthquake and typhoon donations given by parishioners.

Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz, an expert in Canon law, said the complaint should be forwarded to the Vatican to be decided upon by the Congregation of Bishops. "When a bishop is accused of wrongdoing, you don't go to the CBCP, you to to the Congregation of Bishops in Rome," said Cruz.

Once it finds merit to the case, the Congregation will appoint bishops either from the assembly or the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines to form a three-man team to conduct the investigation.

Cruz said that during the investigation, pertinent documents and evidence would have to be submitted and witnesses have to be presented. After the investigation, the team will forward the findings to the Congregation for action.

"It is easy to make accusations but whether there is merit or not, it's another matter," said the archbishop, one of the few Canon law experts in the country.


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