MANILA- Bishop Edwin Dela Peña of the Prelature of Marawi clarified on Tuesday that Fr. Chito Soganub is still a priest despite reports that the latter converted to Islam while he was held hostage by the Maute group in Marawi City.
In a press conference, Dela Peña said the reported conversion of Soganub cannot be considered full since it was done "under duress."
"There is no compulsion in religion. You cannot consider that full conversion. You cannot give full consent, whatever it is, true or not, it doesn't have any. It does not hold water," Dela Peña said.
Soganub, the vicar general of Marawi territorial prelature, was abducted by Maute terrorists along with other civilians while at the compound of the Cathedral of St. Mary at the start of the siege.
The priest and another civilian recently escaped from Maute terrorists after nearly four months in captivity, Dela Peña earlier told ANC.
Dela Pena said he is set to visit Soganub at Camp Aguinaldo, as he assured that the Church has not abandoned the priest.
"We have not abandoned him. We still care for him. I'll be seeing him for the first time, I cannot imagine [seeing him] after his release," he said.
Soganub was endorsed to the care of military doctors and nurses after his presentation to the media Monday.