The news on sexual abuses committed by the members of Catholic Church in the Philippines is not new, but the old scenario still persist and the prosecution is too slow, according to church investigators.
In a documentary of 101 East, reveals that prosecutions of priests alleged to have committed sexual abuse are extremely rare in Asia’s largest Catholic nation.
According to the documentary slamming the church’s members, some of the alleged victims say they have been pressured not to file raps and were paid money in exchange for their silence.
The investigative documentary interviews one of the thousands of alleged victims of the church members, “Imelda” was 15 years old when she says the priest in her village sexually assaulted her.
“After he kissed me on the forehead, he hugged me,” she recalled. “It was really painful. Why did he do that to me?” she narrated.
Imelda said that when her family discovered she had reported the incident to the police, they beat her.
“They actually beat me to the point that I was afraid to go home. They were angry with me. They were telling me that what I did was wrong. They treated me like a stray dog because of what I did, because I filed a case,” the poor victim says.
In the middle of the documentary, she claims a man and a woman from the Catholic church gave her $150 to drop the charges. Her case never went to court.
Meanwhile, in order to get the side of the church over the allegations, retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz, who chairs the Catholic Church’s National Tribunal of Appeals in the Philippines, says his committee continues to receive more complaints of sexual abuse involving priests.
Archbishop Cruz also said includes on the various allegations were cases like paedophilia.
“The laity, especially in urban areas, have become rather alert and courageous in denouncing the errancy of priests,” Cruz says.
“I may be offending other bishops but this is a personal stand, that gone are the days when you can just close your eyes and plug your ears … as if nothing is happening.”
Some priests of the Asia’s largest Catholic nation reported to broke the vow of celibacy and fathering children.
One of the Catholic believer and priest who breaks the vow was Father Elmer Cajilig, who has four children with his long-term girlfriend, says that the celibacy vow for ordained priests is “only a man-made rule”.
“God did not say this, so I think I cannot say that I’ve committed sin. I am just continuing His mandate … to go and multiply,” Fr. Cajilig said.
Father Cajilig and two other priests who also fathered children have set up their own self-styled Catholic parish, where they preach, teach Bible verses at privately owned churches.
The Filipino priests have already written to the Vatican, asking to be accepted by the Church.