By CHRIS V. PANGANIBAN, Contributing Editor
TAGO, Surigao del Sur--Governor Vicente Pimentel Jr. lambasted anew the leaders of the Catholic church as he accused them of corruption and immoral acts that allegedly involve parish priests in different towns of the province.Pimentel minced no words in attacking the local Catholic church hierarchy for allegedly enriching themselves from the coffers of the parishes by living in a wealthy lifestyle while accusing some other priests of siring children from extramarital affairs with parishioners.
“My dear fellow Catholics let us now wake up. Do not listen to them in the next election,” Pimentel told residents of the farming village of Lindoy during the celebration on Wednesday on the harvest of organic rice farms.
He took the opportunity in airing his gripes before the farmers who celebrated for a bountiful harvest of their organic rice as he also thanked them for his overwhelming win in this town.
The governor has been at loggerheads with the Catholic church after the latter had actively campaigned against him in the local elections last year.
He however admitted they already agreed that both parties will no longer be engaged in public animosities but explained, “I could no longer bear the wicked acts that some priest were into lately.”
“I was a victim of their foolishness,” Pimentel said citing millions of pesos that he personally shelled out from his pocket to build churches and the Tandag Diocese cathedral in the past only to learn that the money was lavishly squandered for their personal enrichment.
“I have donated P13 million for various church building projects aside from P5.5 million for a newa church in Adlay in Carrascal and P1.5 million for the renovation of the Cathedral in Tandag,” the governor accounts.
Pimentel said he spent half million pesos to hire a private investigator to probe the lifestyles of these clerics assigned in our province and found out that they have mansions and fancy cars in the cities.
He also criticized some parish priest for using the pulpit to ask for contributions even in their sermons.
“This is already extortion,” Pimentel blurted saying offerings are done twice during mass aside from love offerings and other fundraising contributions.
The Catholic church leadership in the province could not be reached for comment.
But a top ranking leader of a protestant church in the province lashed back at the governor saying he is just sour graping because the Catholic church took a strong stand against open pit mining and openly supported former environment secretary Gina Lopez.
“He should be happy now that the appointment of Gina Lopez was already rejected,” the church leader reacted although he asked that his identity will be withheld.
“It’s time for him to move on and focus now on more important concerns of the province,” he said.
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