‘Self-proclaimed’ priest caught in Pangasinan

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A ‘fake priest,’ identified as “Bishop Eduardo Roxas” was recently caught at Mangaldan town in Pangasinan for allegedly seeking donations in exchange for “healing Masses.”

In a circular by Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop and Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines president Socrates Villegas, Roxas was described as the ‘latest addition to what seems to be a growing number of “phony pastors” who hop from one Philippine diocese to another, offering to administer the sacraments in exchange for cash.’

However, a report stated that the alleged 75-year-old impostor was not charged but instead was sent back to his hometown in Bulacan with his promise not to be engaged with the same act anymore.

Most Reverend Villegas disclosed they have sought police assistance against Roxas immediately after reports reached the archdiocese that a certain priest had been going around the barangays of Mangaldan and Manaoag town offering to celebrate Masses in private homes.

This has led to the apprehension of the fake priest who was then conducting a Mass at a house in Barangay Embarcadero in Mangaldan when residents called the prelate’s attention.

Based on report, Roxas was clad in priestly garb and was giving out envelopes for “donations” during the time of apprehension.

Fr. Hernan Caronongan, parish priest of St. Thomas Aquinas Church in the town of Mangaldan, said Roxas was reportedly using ‘oil’ during his alleged healing Mass.

Investigation likewise showed that Roxas has earlier conducted a Mass at the Virgin’s Well in Manaoag, Pangasinan before he was caught in Mangaldan town.

One resident recalled attending the Mass after being told it was a healing Mass.

Okay naman yung misa, wala namang problema. Para yung Misa niya, parang totoong totoo, hindi namin alam na peke,” the resident said.

(“The mass appeared to be realistic. We never suspected it was a fake mass,” the resident said.)

Similar cases purportedly happened with some identified fake or self-proclaimed priests to include Fr. Jose Mark Robinson Bunag, Fr. Crisanto Bantigue, and Fr. Michael P. Caadan, who was last seen last May 8 presiding over a funeral Mass in the Diocese of Cubao.