Clergy Defend Bishop in Sexual Harassment Rap [Philippines]
Downloaded June 9, 2003

COLLEAGUES of embattled Roman Catholic Bishop Teodoro Bacani defended him from allegations of sexual harassment, which has prompted the Vatican to launch an investigation, GMA-7's "Unang Balita" reported Monday.

"Cariņoso siya (He is a sweet person). He is very affectionate. He tries to keep a sense of dignity while reaching out to people," Monsignor Romulo Raņada, Bacani's spokesman, said.

"He is a very spontaneous person. He likes to hug and embrace people," Father Jerry Tapiador, who took over Bacani's post at the Diocese of Novaliches, said.

Bacani's 34-year-old secretary had accused him of making sexual advances on her twice. The 63-year old bishop, in a letter, had apologized for his "inappropriate" expressions of affection.

"I don't know what they (Bacani's accusers) want," Brother Patrick Ignacio, Bacani's former "sacristan" or altar boy said.

Bacani is sheduled to leave for Kansas on Monday to have his diabetes treated and to attend to his sick mother.


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