Priest Who Took Care of Edgar Matobato Admits Serving Mass for Herbert Colangco’s Birthday

Msgr. Roberto ‘Bobby’ Olaguer is the priest whom Edgar Motabato has identified during the Senate hearing as the one who took care of him. Recently, a photo of Msgr. Olaguer along with convicted drug lord Herbert Colangco went viral on Facebook. According to its caption, Olaguer attended Colangco’s birthday party inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

And although some critics of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte noted that the said photo could be fake and a product of Photoshop, Msgr. Roberto Olaguer himself admitted in a July 2016 Radyo Veritas interview that he attended Colangco’s birthday party. In fact, he said he even served the mass for the birthday celebrant, confirming that the photo is real.

“Yung picture na yan 2013 pa, bago pa lang si Colangco dun at nag-birthday siya, magpapakain siya ng 500 bilanggo na walang dalaw, may mga sakit at nag-request siya ng misa so nag Misa ako doon. (That picture was taken in 2013, Colangco was then a new inmate, and he wanted to feed 500 inmates on his birthday.)” Msgr. Olaguer said.

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“Nag-Misa na lang ako dun, may mga pagkakataong kasama namin ang mga nakabilanggo, kahit sino na nag-request ng Misa papaunlakan ko sila kahit bilanggo pa sila, bilang pari ng mga bilanggo. (I just served the mass, and there were times that some inmates are around us. Being the prison chaplain, I serve mass to everyone.)” He added.

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Olaguer, who was also then the spokesperson for Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), noted that the Catholic Church is not selective in choosing inmates, whether they are VIPs or ordinary. But a week later, he resigned as BuCor spokesperson over a complaint against Special Action Forces (SAF) members who took over in guarding critical areas inside the NBP.

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As of posting, Msgr. Roberto Olaguer has not yet confirmed nor denied Edgar Motabato’s revelation that the latter took care of him when he left the Witness Protection Program this year. In his testimony, Motabato said he entered the WPP in 2013 as a witness to alleged extrajudicial killings in Davao, but left right after President Duterte won the elections.