Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Investigation needed
Olango priest ‘settles matter’ with altar boy
Comment| More | By Bernadette A. Parco

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

THE Archdiocese of Cebu should investigate the physical abuse complaint raised by an altar boy against a priest, said a church official.

An investigation should be conducted by the archdiocesan officials who are direct superiors of the priest involved, said Msgr. Esteban Binghay, a Canon lawyer.

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“We have to check, give the priest (Fr. Leopoldo Palacio Jr.) advice,” he said.

He was referring to the complaint of a 15-year-old acolyte (altar boy) of St. Augustine Parish in Barangay Sta. Rosa, Olango Island, Lapu-Lapu City that Palacio hit him when he arrived late for mass last Sunday.

In an interview, Fr. Palacio told Sun.Star Cebu the case was settled yesterday.

Palacio initially declined to issue a statement, but later said there was a meeting held at the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Lapu-Lapu City where the issue was discussed.

“Settled na. Ok ra siya, ok ra pud ko. Closed na ang kaso (We’re both fine now. Case closed),” he said in a phone interview.

Binghay said a priest facing an investigation cannot just be transferred to another parish. There is a process that has to be followed, he said.

“We do not punish, tell the priest to leave. Unless the people ask that he be transferred. Who will the priest serve?” he said.

“In order to be very sure, there should be an official verification of the incident. The child should also be investigated,” he said.

Binghay said Palacio was assigned in Barangay Tuyan, Naga City three years ago, where he also encountered problems with a family there.

“There was a misunderstanding with the family. They got mad because he said a mass for the dead hurriedly,” said Binghay.

“He was not able to explain his side properly at that time. But everything was settled after that. He (Palacio) was tired after coming down from the mountain where he also said mass,” Binghay said.

Barangay Sta. Rosa Captain Barulio Inoc told Sun.Star Cebu the acolyte is his neighbor, and that he is not familiar with the incident.

But he expressed doubts if the acolyte would return to work at the parish after the incident.

Inoc said the boy attended a school activity that day, which was the reason he was late for mass.

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