No confirmation on Fr. Chito’s ‘conversion’ to Islam: prelate

By , on September 19, 2017

Father Teresito Soganub (pictured above in a photo dated March 2014) was last seen in May in a video, apparently taken under duress by the militants, where he said he was with about 200 other hostages and that his captors wanted the military to withdraw its forces from Marawi. (Facebook photo)
Father Teresito Soganub (pictured above in a photo dated March 2014) (Facebook photo)

MANILA — Marawi City Bishop Edwin dela Peña said they have no information if rescued priest Teresito “Chito” Soganub has indeed converted to Islam.

“We don’t have any confirmation about that. You know, there is no compulsion in religion, so if there is something like that, if something about the issue of conversion is being discussed in the context of the war in Marawi, we should rightfully call it a war, you cannot consider that full conversion,” he said.

“There is no substance to it, if you are under duress. You cannot give your full consent. That is what religion is all about. Whatever it is, true or not, it doesn’t hold water for me,” the Catholic prelate added.

With this, he noted that Soganub is now under the care of the prelature of Marawi.

“Sure, sure. At any moment, we have not abandoned him. We continue to pray for him. And now that he is free, in fact in the afternoon I will be able to see him for the first time, and I can just imagine how that meeting will be, for the first time after his release. But that is only something between us,” Dela Peña said.

Meanwhile, the social action arm of the Catholic Church urged dioceses and parishes in Luzon to adopt communities in Marawi City to help them recover from the uncertainties they are facing at present.

“We are focusing not on ‘hardware’ but on peace building. We ask our dioceses to partner with communities in Marawi to help advance our rehabilitation efforts,” said National Secretariat for Social Action Executive Secretary Fr. Edwin Gariguez.

The appeal is part of Duyog Marawi, the Church’s rehabilitation efforts for the war-torn city.

Gariguez added that some dioceses and parishes in Metro Manila, have pledged to partner with one of the 13 underserved communities in the province.