Manila priest suspended, gets into row with bishop

Manila priest suspended, gets into row with bishop

By: - Reporter / @dexcabalzaINQ
/ 05:40 AM June 07, 2024

Manila priest suspended, gets into row with bishop

Cardinal Jose Advincula—Photo courtesy of Archdiocese of Capiz

Cardinal Jose Advincula, the Manila archbishop, has suspended a priest, who figured in a commotion with a bishop inside a parish church in Tondo, for disobeying his superiors.

Fr. Alfonso Valeza was relieved of his duties as parochial administrator of St. Joseph Parish Church at Gagalangin in Manila’s Tondo district effective June 3, according to a statement released by the Archdiocese of Manila on Thursday.


Valeza was also suspended from exercising his priestly faculties effective June 5 “because of his persistent defiance to the Archbishop of Manila despite orders and warnings.”


“He is therefore prohibited from administering the sacraments. Any sacrament he administers is illicit,” the archdiocese said.

“We exhort the lay faithful of St. Joseph Parish to abide by this decision and cooperate with the parish administration team,” it added.

‘Choking’ incident

With the suspension of Valeza, the Manila archdiocese shall be taking charge of the parish through a new administration team led by Fr. Reginald Malicdem as moderator and Fathers Nolan Que and Gilbert Kabigting as members.

In a GMA News report aired on Wednesday, a security camera video showed Valeza, Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Antonio Tobias, and some lay parishioners in a tense encounter inside the parish office.

At one point, Valeza was seen losing his balance and falling to the floor moments after someone partially outside the frame wrapped an arm around the priest’s neck.

Interviewed in the report, the 65-year-old Valeza said Tobias, 82, “choked me tightly.”



According to the priest, he and Tobias had a heated argument after the bishop relayed the archdiocese’s decision to have him removed from the parish for having accused other clergymen of corruption.

He said that when he asked to see a copy of a “petition letter” that supposedly formed the basis for his ouster, Tobias maintained that the archdiocese had already made a decision.

Another video showed a woman parishioner walking toward Tobias, apparently in an angry fit, and placing a hand on his shoulder, which the bishop quickly brushed off.

The archdiocese described what happened as a mere “misunderstanding” between Valeza and Tobias.

The bishop retired as head of the Diocese of Novaliches in June 2019 and was succeeded by Bishop Roberto Orendain Gaa.

A canon lawyer, Tobias also chaired a committee created by Advincula to handle cases involving priests under the archdiocese. The post was given to him—not the archdiocese’s own canon lawyers—“to maintain impartiality.”

Tobias also earlier served as judicial vicar of the National Tribunal of Appeals, considered the high court of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines that tackles cases of clergy misconduct.


Malicdem, who is also the vicar general of the Manila archdiocese, admitted there was no proper turnover of office at the parish following the decision to replace Valeza and that this may have led to the commotion.

“It seemed that Father Al (Valeza) was going berserk (nagwawala). He was not being choked by the bishop, but he was actually being pacified. But for some reason, the interpretation was that he was being choked,” he said in an interview for the GMA report.

Malicdem clarified that Valeza’s removal from the parish was not because of his corruption allegations but due to his failure for the past two years to comply with Cardinal Advincula’s order for him to undergo counseling over his “unstable personality.”

“Father Al has a history of defiance. He was assigned to the parish by the cardinal on the condition that he must undergo some renewal program to help his personality,” he said.

Based on an order issued by Advincula in October 2022 regarding appointments in the archdiocese, Valeza was supposed to serve as the parish priest of San Roque de Sampaloc Parish Church in Sampaloc, Manila. But eventually, the post went to Fr. Joseph Gil Alonso, who was originally assigned to Gagalangin.

2010 in Pasay

It was not the first controversy involving Valeza that had gone public.

In a June 2010 Inquirer report, members of the St. Mary the Comforter Parish Church in Maricaban, Pasay City—which is also under the Manila archdiocese—protested Valeza’s reinstatement as their parish priest, citing his involvement in “anomalous activities.” The parishioners then wanted Fr. David Colong to stay put and not yield the post to Valeza.

READ: Manila Archbishop Advincula to flock: Rethink pro-life strategy 

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During a rally outside the church on June 2, 2010, a representative of then Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales came to announce that Valeza’s appointment to the Maricaban parish had been revoked.

TAGS: bishop, priest, suspended

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