Bishop seeks police help vs cyber solicitation for Kidapawan diocese
KIDAPAWAN CITY –– The Diocese of Kidapawan has warned Catholic parishioners and the general public not to heed the call for donations carried out by a social media account using the name of Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, supposedly to fund the ongoing renovations of the cathedral.
Bagaforo took to the Catholic-run DxND radio here after receiving calls from friends as far as General Santos City, inquiring if he already received the cash donations deposited in supposed bank accounts of the diocese.
“It alarms me, especially that the diocese never asks donations in social media. I am appealing to parishioners not to send cash donations unless you make verification in the office which will provide an account for donations,” Bagaforo said.
While it’s true that the Our Lady of Mediatrix of All Grace cathedral is undergoing renovation, those who want to give financial assistance must coordinate directly with the Bishop’s office in Kidapawan, or contact the office for proper guidance, he further said.
Bagaforo has asked police help, through its anti-cybercrime group, to locate the suspects.
“We already have the idea, but it is still premature to divulge,” Bagaforo said.
The prelate disclosed that the scammers used his name, including the various photographs of his social media accounts, to solicit donations.
He added that two of his close friends called him asking if he already received the amounts they deposited.
Bagaforo disclosed that one person, claiming to be a Father Tabara, and two women who claimed to be nuns, opened accounts with Banco de Oro, Bank of the Philippine Islands, and Metrobank and used these to collect money in the name of the Kidapawan diocese.
“These names are fictitious. Please, if you receive a message and asks you to donate using my name, ignore them. I am also asking you to verify so that these evils will not be triumphant (in) fooling us,” the prelate appealed.
Bagaforo also said that the fake priest was the same person who used the name of Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle in soliciting money, supposedly for the Manila Archdiocese.
Bagaforo further said that the scammers are still active in social media, by this time asking money supposedly for the benefit of people affected by the eruption of Taal volcano.
He said the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines has alerted all dioceses in the country for them to also be aware of the modus operandi./lzb
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.