Duterte names priest who allegedly molested him as teen
DAVAO CITY – Mayor Rodrigo Duterte late Thursday named the priest, who allegedly molested him and several other high school boys, when he was a teenager studying at the Jesuit-run Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) here.
Duterte, who vowed to keep his mouth shut pending a talk with Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles on Friday, said the priest who made him and several other boys lost their innocence was the late Fr. Paul Falvey, S.J., one of the Jesuit priests at AdDU when he was still in his first year high school.
“It happened during our generation, two years ahead of us and two years following us,” Duterte told reporters Thursday night. “It cost him some P25 million because other victims filed a case, it was a case of fondling—you know what—he did during confession, that’s how we lost our innocence early,” the mayor told reporters here around 9 p.m. Thursday.
He said he did not file a case because he was still a young boy at that time, and he was afraid. “It was a sort of sexual awakening for each of us,” he said, “We realized quite early that ganun talaga ang buhay (life was like that), “Paano magreklamo (How would you complain)?” he asked, “Takot kami (We were afraid).”
Duterte said that’s why he has high regard for Archbishop Oscar Cruz, who voiced out his strong criticism against him. “That’s why, I respect Bishop Oscar Cruz, who is very frank and very brutal in his language, I respect him, kasi hindi siya (because it was not him),” Duterte said, adding that it “was an actionable wrong.” “I was only 14 or 15, I am now 70 years old. How do you suppose I should file a case?” he asked reporters.
But Duterte promised to keep his mouth shut in deference to the requests of his priest friends and before he gets an audience with Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, who have requested to talk to him Friday. “I’m willing to talk to Bishop Valles because he’s the leader of the flock here,” Duterte said.
“I’ll follow the admonition of my priest friends because they meant well. I don’t have a quarrel against the Church, although I have already apologized, other Bishops came in very strong, so, I better stop talking.”
Duterte said that his joke, which drew the ire of the Catholic hierarchy was not really intended against Pope Francis, it was intended for the government, which has been unable to solve the problem of traffic congestion in the country. He also said that “God willing, if people will help me, I will not bother the people with the problem of traffic congestion.”
“I’m a member of the Catholic Church, I haven’t changed religion, I only have one God, I just like to honor the request of my friends who are priests that the Bishop would like to talk to me, he’s still my Bishop, wala akong magawa (I cannot do anything else), it would be foolhardy for me to be still combative,” he said.
“The Bishop is downhearted, if not angry, but I simply have to listen,” he said.
Fr. Nono Alfonso, Society of Jesus spokesperson, said their position remained the same and that they were sad if the alleged abuse really happened as “we are an educational institution and there is no room for wolves in sheep’s clothing.”
He said it was the first time that he heard of the name of the priest.
Other sources spelled the priest’s family name as Faulvey.
Alfonso said he would have to “do some archival work as it happened long ago.”
“We still have to check if he was a real person but with due respect to Mayor Duterte, under the protocol, you have to formally file a case but if the mayor is no longer interested we can no longer do anything about it,” he said by phone.
“But we certainly have to look into this because we are in the business of education and we could not tolerate something like this to happen within our institution,” Alfonso added.
Meanwhile, Gabriela Davao also chided Duterte for flaunting his womanizing in the media, calling it an affront to women, although the group pointed out that the mayor had strongly supported the challenging and progressive provisions of the Women Development Code, the Local Development Plan for Children, and the Reproductive Health Bill. But despite Duterte’s strong support for the women’s movement in the city, he is not “above reproach on the issue of sexism,” said Dr. Jean Lindo, chair of Gabriela Southern Mindanao.
“We never hesitated to criticize the mayor in the past for his sexist campaign sorties,” Lindo said. “We remind him again and appeal to him to stop hurting women in this presidential race,” Lindo said.
“He does not have to resort to sexism to gain popularity in the poll. He does not have to use expletives like ‘P.I. mo’ in public for his messages are clear and distinct.”
Lindo also recalled that during One Billion Rising campaign early this year, Duterte made a speech devoid of expletives. “We urge him to maintain that decorum at all times,” Lindo said. “In other countries, government officials resign over derogatory remarks against women.”
“We will vigilantly pursue people’s interest, as well as, continue to gender-police in order to defend and advance the gains that the women’s movements all over the country have achieved in terms of elimination of discrimination and violence against women.