DAVAO CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday night, December 3, identified the Jesuit priest who allegedly abused him in high school, and said he was “afraid” to file a complaint at the time.
But he added he had already forgiven the priest who was his teacher when he was a freshman student at the Ateneo de Davao high school.
Duterte was a student of Ateneo de Davao high school before he was expelled and went to Holy Cross of Digos.
Duterte told Rappler, “I will not file a case against the priest because I belong to the Catholic Church,” while some of those molested reportedly filed complaints. Falvey, according to Duterte, was ordered to pay “P16* million” in damages.
Father Emmanuel Alfonso SJ, spokesman of the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus, later clarified that Falvey belonged to the Far East Province of their religious order.
“They were all kicked out of China during Mao Tse Tung’s takeover and stayed in the Philippines while waiting for a possible return to China. He went back to the USA after 5 or 6 years and died there in ’75,” the Jesuit spokesman said in a text message Friday, December 4.
Alfonso added: “He was posthumously accused of abuses committed [in the US], and I think if there were any settlements, Mayor Duterte may be referring to that. He never belonged to the Philippine Province.” Complaints or cases are brought before the province that a Jesuit belongs to.
Alfonso said the Philippine Province researched on Falvey only after Duterte talked about the abuse that the priest allegedly committed.
The presidential aspirant first revealed the abuse he allegedly suffered in the hands of a priest after he was criticized for jokingly cursing the Pope for the traffic that the latter’s visit caused in Metro Manila last January.
“It was a case of fondling – you know what – he did during confession, that’s how we lost our innocence early,” he said.
“I was only 14 or 15, I am now 70 years old. How do you suppose I should file a case?” Duterte said.
Duterte’s disclosure was in response to the bishops’ admonition. He challenged Catholic bishops to answer for sexual abuses of priests.
Duterte’s revelation on sexual abuse surprised even his daughter Sara who told reporters her father never opened up about it to them.
Earlier, Rappler published stories about the sex abuse suffered by a former Ateneo de Zamboanga high school student in the hands of a Jesuit seminarian about 30 years ago. – with reports by Editha Caduaya and Paterno Esmaquel II/Rappler.com
*Editor’s Note: In a previous version of this story, the priest was identified as Paul Falvey SJ. This was corrected to Mark Falvey. The previous amount cited as having been paid by Falvey was P25 million; Duterte said it was P16 million.