MANILA, Philippines – A Roman Catholic bishop denied allegations that he misused funds and donations for calamity victims, saying he is willing to resign if the charges are proven true.
“I am always at the service of the Church and if the Holy Father thinks that I am not anymore (fit to serve), anytime (I’m willing to step down),” Parañaque Bishop Jesse Mercado told reporters on Wednesday.
Mercado said the multimillion-peso donations given to the church were properly turned over to their intended beneficiaries.
“The Diocese of Paranaque is audited annually by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila and receives a 100 percent rating,” he said.
Mercado said is ready to defend himself in the event that Papal nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto conducts an investigation.
“Because I have nothing to hide. He is the representative of the Holy Father. I think, in the end, I will have to talk to him,” he said.
He said the accusations stemmed from a small group of “desperate people” who were not pleased with parish assignments.
“I think there are some priests who are just desperate, when there was a reshuffling of parish assignments, some did not like what they received and what they got. That is part of the issue,” he said.
Mercado added that a dialogue between the two parties is needed to resolve the issue.
“Our stand should always be through dialogue. Let us talk things over because we believe in the dialogue as a means by which we can clarify things, renew our ties and that is where we understand each other,” the bishop said.