Friday, December 11, 2009

Bishop to Panlilio: Say goodbye to priesthood

December 11, 2009 20:32:00
Tonette Orejas
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Original Story:

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—Pampanga Gov. Eddie Panlilio faces dismissal from the priesthood, including a prohibition against readmission, should he persist with his reelection bid next year, his superiors said.

San Fernando Archbishop Paciano Aniceto said he was inclined to reject the petition of Panlilio to be dispensed and instead opt to dismiss the priest.

“What is sad here is we [Metropolitan Tribunal of First Instance in Pampanga] will not be bracing for a dispensation. It will be a sanction,” Aniceto, the tribunal’s judge, told the Inquirer on Tuesday night.

A dismissal takes away the clerical state of a priest while a dispensation, in which a priest is excused from his duties, is a favor from the Vatican, said Msgr. Edgardo Pangan, a canon lawyer in the four-member tribunal.

The two other members are Fr. Marius Roque and Fr. Marcelino Mandap.

Aniceto said the penalty of dismissal looms because on top of not meeting his two promises in 2007—of serving only for a three-year term and training a lay person as successor—Panlilio is also seeking reelection.

“He failed to fulfill those two promises and he is running again. That merits sanction,” Aniceto said.

He described Panlilio’s actions as “disobedience.”

The first time that Panlilio ran in 2007—done at the clamor of Kapampangan to contest two politicians linked to jueteng and sand quarrying irregularities—Panlilio was “reprimanded” by Aniceto with suspension due to disobedience, Pangan said.

Panlilio, in his Dec. 1 petition for dispensation, said he is seeking reelection because nobody in Pampanga’s good governance crusade, including San Fernando Mayor Oscar Rodriguez, was ready to succeed him.

But Pangan said since there was an offense, the proper option is dismissal.

Panlilio was in his 27th year as a priest in May 2007 when Aniceto suspended his priestly faculties and duties. His life as a priest revolved around social action work and spent in poor fishing and farming villages.

Panlilio said he would accept the sanction.

“If in the mind of our beloved archbishop, my action is considered disobedience and what I believe is my moral option, I will respectfully accept whatever his decision will be. I will continue to love and honor him,” he said.

Asked if Panlilio deserves dismissal, Aniceto said: “We are all under a higher authority and if we have to continue serving in that institution, we have to abide with the policies of the institution.”

Panlilio, Aniceto said, met with him twice and in both meetings, the priest “struggled and agonized” over his decision to seek reelection.

“I tried my best to really persuade him to stay in the priestly ministry because he is my brother in the priesthood and we don’t want to lose him. He’s a good priest. He’s a treasure,” the bishop said.

Original Story:

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