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Fake priest cons Iloilo parishioners.

The Jaro Archdiocese has warned clergy members and parishioners against a man posing as a priest and soliciting or borrowing money from residents for supposed church projects.

The man identifies himself as Fr. Dom Patrick Neri Cabrera, but police said his real name is Ceferino Sorongon, 44. He pretended to be a former doctor who became a Benedictine priest based in a parish in Germany on vacation in the Philippines.

At least five residents of Duenas town have filed complaints against Sorongon for not paying loans from P50,000 to more than P200,000 and issuing postdated checks that had bounced. One said the fake priest had sold them a rented vehicle.

SPO1 Amy Aguilar, duty investigator of the municipal police station, told the Inquirer that they were waiting for more victims to come out. 'We believed the amount involved could be bigger,' she said.

Auguilar said the victims were planning to file a complaint of large-scale estafa against Sorongon.

Sorongon could no longer be contacted since he went to Davao City and later to Manila early this month, according to Aguilar. He arrived in Duenas in March, claiming he has roots there.

'From the reports that we got, he spoke convincingly so many people believed him,' said Msgr. Joemarie Delgado, director of the Jaro Archdiocesan Commission on Social Communications.

He also celebrated Masses, including one in a chapel in Molo District in Iloilo City, and officiated over weddings and burials, Delgado said. Visiting priests usually seek permission from a diocese to do such tasks.

'I usually check if a visiting priest is on the list of Catholic priests,' Delgado said. But he said priests who have roots in parishes under the diocese or who are relatives of residents had been allowed to perform religious tasks even without formal permission.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Sep 27, 2016
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