Archdiocese suspends priest in beating raps

May 1, 2005
By Lizanilla J. Amarga

Cagayan De Oro City -- The Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro suspended Friday a priest for an entire month after he was accused of beating an altar boy with a golf club inside a church in Kauswagan last week.

Archdiocese spokesman Monsignor Rey Monsanto and press relations' officer Monsignor Elmer Abacahin said in separate interviews Friday that Archbishop Jesus Tuquib issued a suspension order against Fr. Jose Daniel Coronel.

Coronel is parish priest of the Eco Church in Barangay Kauswagan.

"He (Coronel) has been sanctioned and ordered to stay for one month with the archbishop and to take a retreat afterwards," he said, adding that Coronel will have no assignment for one month.

Abacahin said Coronel is barred from celebrating Holy Mass outside of the chapel of Archbishop Tuquib.

"He (Coronel) is now under the custody of Archbishop Tuquib," he said.

Both Monsanto and Abacahin agreed that Coronel enjoys the admiration of many of his comrades in the Church "for his public act of contrition".

Radio broadcasters reportedly humiliated Coronel in their programs, lambasting the priest on air almost every morning for a whole week last week.

Several people also called the radio stations to air their complaints against Coronel.

Coronel issued a public apology on Wednesday last week and asked for forgiveness not only from his altar boy Roberto Calampiano Jr., 20, but also from those he might have "hurt or caused to sin in one way or another". The altar boy reportedly sustained bruises in various parts of his body as a result of the beating.

Calampiano also alleged that Coronel even threatened him. "Patyon taka, pusilon taka, buk-on ko nang imong nawong (I'll kill you, I'll shoot you, I'll break your face)," the altar boy quoted the priest as allegedly saying.

Coronel admitted to hitting Calampiano, a resident of Pinitikan, Barangay Camaman-an here.

He said he is ready to accept whatever penalties to be meted him by the Archdiocese and the public for what he did.

The priest said he hit the Calampiano because he wanted to discipline him.

He said he considered himself a relative or brother of the victim who wants to cut down on the suspect's stubbornness.

The victim had lived in the convent for two years and was often thought of as the priest's brother.

Coronel said he is only human and he was unable to control his temper at the time.

Monsignor Abacahin said he was thankful for Coronel's apology and added that sanctions would still be meted on the priest because the Church does not tolerate such behavior.

He said the Eco Church would be informed about the matter. Abacahin also said the victim would not be neglected.

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