‘Those consultants don’t belong to the Church’

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The diocese of Malolos on Thursday clarified that the bishops and priests who received monthly honoraria from the Provincial Capitol do not belong to the Catholic Church.

“The phrase “Bulacan bishops and priests” should not be understood as the Clergy of the Catholic Church in Bulacan . . . they are bishops and priests who lead different sects within the province of Bulacan,” Rev. Father Dars Cabral, chairman of the Commission on Social Communications said.

“Among those who received honoria is identified as Ephraim Perez. He presents himself as the bishop of the Christian Catholic Church, a small sect within Bulacan and became a consultant of the Provincial Jail. He used to receive P20,000 to P 25,000 a month,” he added.

However, Cabral reiterated that the Clergy of the Diocese of Malolos engaged themselves in any way in the provincial government [if]it is in the work of ministry.

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Earlier, the Commission on Audit (COA) reported that members of the Church beefed up the ranks of government workers in the province of Bulacan.

“Bishops/priests of different congregations were also hired as consultant or granted monthly honoraria ranging from P9,000 to P22,500,” state auditors noted in their report.

Government accountants said that this move from the provincial capitol was “not in accordance” with the Philippine Charter, which provided for the separation of the Church and the state as “inviolable.”

Although the names of the prelates were withheld, as well as the number allegedly hired and the year of hiring, the Commission said that this had defeated the purpose of public treasury.

“Payment for this nature is also contrary to the fundamental principle that local funds and monies shall be spent solely for public purposes,” the report added.

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