Since investigative journalist Rappler.com published an article June 18, 2012 entitled, “Bishop accused of diverting millions,” heated controversy has surrounded the Diocese of Paranaque. The article alleges that Bishop Jesse E. Mercado has diverted multi-million donations for victims of typhoons and other calamities, in violation of Church law or Canon 1300 which states that “the intentions of the faithful who give or leave goods to pious causes…once lawfully accepted, are to be most carefully observed, even in the manner of the administration and the expending of the goods…”
The article further states that “even as donations for the intended beneficiaries do not reach them, the diocese is also not funding its social programs. Priests who persistently question how the finances are being handled are either put on a “floating” status, or arbitrarily replaced. Lay leaders who also sought transparency in the diocese’s finances are regarded as “dissenters,” and are slowly being eased out of the diocese’s affairs.”
The Bishop has responded to these allegations with a pastoral letter, DOP Circular No. 2012-034 dated June 20, 2012 that essentially denies all allegations.
However, the response is lacking as it does not provide clear documentation to prove that funds have indeed been given to those intended when intended. Because of this, concerned laity of Paranaque have written a letter to the Bishop requesting him to shed light on the questions raised in the Rappler report and to provide clear documentation in the form of official receipts and duly signed reports.
The letter was submitted to the Bishop’s office on June 26, requesting a response by July 3. No response has been received from the Bishop’s office. Does this mean he does not think the concerns of the laity are important?
If you care about our Diocese and would like to ensure that the church we serve and support is trustworthy and above reproach, we invite you to sign this petition to show our Bishop that we are serious in asking for transparency and accountability in this challenging time of purification.