What Happened to Paranaque Bishop Jesse Mercado Who Allegedly Misused Over P3M Church Donations in 2012?

Christmas is time for love, forgiveness, and sharing of blessings, as the Catholic Church advises it to the faithful. But what if the one who is supposed to be teaching Catholics the right path has a history of alleged corruption? This is what happened to Parañaque Bishop Jesse Mercado, who was accused in 2012 for misusing church donations worth P3.2 million.

Back in June 2012, Rappler published an article about some priests and lay leaders demanding an investigation by the Vatican about the donations received by the Diocese of Parañaque, which is being headed by Bishop Jesse Mercado. The complainants accused the bishop allegedly misused funds allocated for victims of typhoons and other calamities.

Based on the exclusive report, citing the financial records of Diocese of Parañaque, it collected P1,631,473.05 worth of cash donations in 2009 for the Typhoon Ondoy victims, but only P263,236.60 was released. This means that P1,368,236.55 was not remitted. This tropical storm reportedly killed 744 people, particularly from Luzon including Metro Manila.

In 2010, the same diocese collected P1,031,456.37 for the victims of the Haiti earthquake, but P168,891.10 was not released. On the same year, P129,201.25 for the fire victims in Muntinlupa fire, but not a single centavo was remitted. In 2011, it received P3,470,589.95 to help Typhoon Sendong victims in Mindanao, but P970,589.95 was not released.

Also in 2011, the Diocese of Parañaque received P316,123.40 for National Youth Day, but P306,123.40 was not released. For Palm Sunday collections in the same year, it collected P799,942.45 but P399,942.45 was not released. All in all, from 2009 to 2012, it reportedly received P7,378,786.47 cash donations, but a total of P3,342,984.7 was not released.

Two days later, Bishop Jesse Mercado faced the media and read his statement, categorically denying that those those questionable amount of funds were misused, saying that “all donations are properly receipted and promptly turned over to their intended beneficiaries.” According to him, “the priests and lay leaders who sought transparency are regarded as dissenters and are slowly being eased out of diocese’ affairs.”

Later, in an exclusive interview with Aries Rufo of Rappler, Bishop Mercado again denied all the allegations, and explained his side on the issue. The reporter them requested him to provide him receipts or any documents or receipts proving his innocence, but the bishop declined. Instead, he questioned Rufo why he has to be transparent to the reporter. Nevertheless, he said he is willing to resign if the Vatican has proven him guilty.

As of posting, four and a half years later, we at Taho News cannot find any further news reports on the accusations against Bishop Mercado. We also do not know the result of the Vatican investigation, if there had been one. Last Friday, December 16, he approved the Diocese’ prayer against the imposition of the death penalty, now being pushed by the Duterte administration.

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