Controversial priests, others to be reshuffled

Controversial priests, others to be reshuffled
By Bernadette Parco
Cebu Daily News
Last updated 03:46pm (Mla time) 07/30/2007

Cebu, Philippines – Two Priests linked to controversies are among those scheduled to be transferred to other parish assignments within the year.


Monsignor Constantino Diotay, who had been embroiled in controversies concerning accounting and disbursement of church funds, and Father Benedicto Ejares, who was accused by public high school students of lascivious conduct, will have new posts soon.


However, Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal said the transfer was not because of the problems or complaints the priests were facing, but because their terms of office were over.


“Everybody who (has stayed for) more than six years (in their parishes) will be moved,” he told reporters on Wednesday.


Last year, the Kalihukang Katoliko Karon initiated a petition seeking the transfer of Diotay and Fr. Domingo Tapic to another parish after accusing them of implementing “moneymaking” schemes.


Diotay is the parish priest of the Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Parish priest in Pardo, Cebu City.


Cardinal Vidal said an investigation by the archdiocese showed that the properties allegedly purchased by Diotay were “all in the names of his relatives.”


Vidal denied parish funds were used to buy the properties.


“He has money, on his own. He is living frugally,” the prelate said.


Vidal said Diotay had been staying at the Sto. Tomas parish for eight years and is due for a transfer.


He also said that Diotay, who is more than 70 years old, would be retiring from active priesthood soon.


The retirement age for priests is 65, but permission to retire is only given by their bishops.


Another priest, Ejares, may also be given a new parish assignment. Ejares was accused by public high school students of lascivious conduct, while hearing their confessions during a Life in the Spirit Seminar in November 2006.


Ejares recently surfaced to answer the charges against him, saying that he was just making the students feel at ease.


He has since been placed on floating status and given no assignment.


“Maybe when he would be given a new assignment (during the reshuffling of parish priests). But up to now he still has no assignment,” Vidal said.


Vidal said the suspension of Ejares’ priestly faculties was still in place.


Ejares may perform “governance and administration duties” until his floating status is lifted. He may not celebrate Mass nor hear confessions “until everything is resolved,” Vidal said.


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