The healing priest’s rich lifestyle
San Miguel Corp. (SMC) could well have underwritten the construction of the proposed P1-billion shrine to Mother Mary, a project of Fr. Fernando Suarez in Cavite province.
But the business conglomerate discovered massive unnecessary spending by the healing priest, according to an SMC insider, and thus withdrew its support from the project.
“Before, Father Suarez would come to RSA’s office wearing only a T-shirt and sandals, but now he wears expensive clothes and watches, stays in five-star hotels and attends tennis matches like the Wimbledon Classic and the French Open,” said the SMC insider.
Ramon S. Ang, president and CEO of San Miguel Corp. is “RSA” to his subordinates.
RSA, who wears an ordinary collared shirt to work, has faith in the healing power of Father Suarez, but he was reportedly “shocked” at the priest’s change of lifestyle.
Ang is a devout Catholic and his wife is a member of Opus Dei, an organization of ultraconservative Catholic laymen.
When SMC, as a principal benefactor, ordered an audit of Father Suarez’s Mary Mother of the Poor Foundation, the business conglomerate discovered that the foundation had spent money left and right without supporting documents.
The foundation acquired the Little Bridge Resort in Butong, Taal town in Batangas province, saying it paid P55 million out of the total purchase price of P74 million.
There were no documents to support the transaction.
The foundation reimbursed spouses Bong and Elvie Garcia $850,727.20 using its dollar account, supposedly for the donation of the Sto. Niño chapel in Pagkilatan, Batangas City.
What was the reimbursement for if the chapel was donated?
Construction work for the Tabernacle 3 of St. Peter’s Chapel in Butong, Taal, Batangas at P17,827,412.04 in 2008 and 2009.
There were no documents proving the amount was donated.
Donation of P7,249,950 by Teresa Chan for the acquisition of a 102,795-sq m property, but only P3,101,850 was booked.
Many rich people healed by Father Suarez have given him hundreds of thousands and even millions of pesos out of gratitude.
But when asked why his foundation was short on finances, the priest was reportedly heard saying: “Sa akin binigay ang pera. Bakit ko ibibigay sa aking foundation (The money was given to me. Why should I give it to my foundation)?”
Suarez’s high living led to the resignations of Archbishop Chito Tagle as chair of Mother Mary of the Poor Foundation on Sept. 27, 2012; Antonio Tambunting as vice chair on Oct. 2, 2012; and Jun Mangilit as treasurer on Oct. 3, 2012.
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SMC under Ang donates to worthy causes.
The firm’s more than P1-billion donation for the rehabilitation of Eastern Visayas after the devastation wrought by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” makes it one of the biggest benefactors of calamity victims.
The construction alone of 5,000 houses, each costing P200,000, will amount to P1 billion.
That does not include the construction of hundreds of schoolhouses and the deployment of hundreds of heavy equipment and personnel to help in the reconstruction of Eastern Visayas.
It is therefore not surprising that Ang pledged a billion-peso donation to build Suarez’s shrine, thinking it would be a pilgrimage site.
To SMC, the amount is peanuts given the money it sets aside for corporate social responsibility projects.
But it would have been very unwise of Ang to continue supporting a religious project whose initiator is living the life of the rich and famous when his life should be monastic.
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