By Joseph G. Lariosa
Some fellow former seminarians of a former Filipino Jesuit priest, who died in Thailand last August are losing sleep because they could not believe their friend would die of a natural cause.
These seminarians, who refused to be identified because they are still active in the Jesuit priesthood, are asking for a deeper probe into the death of Rev. Fr. Jacinto Rey Mar “Jack” Padua, a former member of the Society of Jesus (S.J.) congregation, who reportedly died of heart attack on Aug. 16, 2015 inside a washroom of a hospital in Bangkok, Thailand.
An S.J. priest who asked not to be identified by name because he was not authorized to speak, asked this reporter that if Father Padua had died of heart attack, why was his skull broken, like being hit by a baseball bat?
He said the family of Fr. Padua, a native of Jovellar, Albay, Philippines, requested for a copy of autopsy report from the Archdiocese of Manila but was reportedly turned aside. The family is now reportedly willing to have Fr. Padua’s remains exhumed to find out the actual cause of death.
A cemetery tombstone of Father Padua in the public cemetery of Guinobatan, Albay, Philippines was posted on the Facebook page by some of Padua’s friends to elicit a public clamor for a deeper probe into his death, whom they believe was possibly a victim of foul play.
It was alleged that Father Padua, whose last known assignment was as a parish priest of Sto. Nino Church in Tondo, Manila, Philippines had joined a tour group to Thailand when he allegedly complained of upset stomach.
It was initially reported that Fr. Padua, 56, was shown in a closed circuit TV of the hospital believed to be Bangkok Christian Hospital at Silom Road Bangruk, Bangkok going out of his hospital room, holding dried Durian candies to breathe some fresh air. But he ended up being dead inside the hospital washroom.
This reporter is still awaiting word from Bangkok Christian Hospital to verify if Father Padua was a patient of the hospital.
Sources said Father Padua was reportedly living a double-life of having pederasty relationship. The Archdiocese of Manila, who got wind of his alleged dalliance with young boys, wanted to get rid of Father Padua.
Padua was alleged to have sexually molested a third year high school student of Ateneo de Zamboanga High School in Zamboanga City in the Philippines sometime on March 26, 1985 while the student was 15 years old.
The student, Rasidh Capala, in his complaint to Fr. Tony Moreno, the Provincial of the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus, said that Father Padua sexually molested him from 1985 to 1987 “about a hundred times.”
Mr. Capala, who is now 46, said, on one occasion in an apparent exhibition, he “witnessed two Jesuits engaged in sex.” He felt that “something was very wrong in all this, and thought to seek counsel with the other Jesuits on campus.” But he “hesitated, fearing that they were in similar pederastic relationships.”
He identified the two Jesuits doing the exhibition as Father Padua and Fr. Lito Mangulabnan.
Capala also said during his three-day stay at the Loyola House of Studies in Quezon City, Philippines, another Jesuit whose private quarters were proximate Fr. Padua’s, saw him several times and knew very well he was spending his nights there. The Jesuit he later identified as Fr. Daniel Patrick Huang did not bother to challenge his presence or even inquire what business he had there.
“Such stay-ins, in retrospect, probably would have been strictly forbidden, then as now, especially when the outsider was a minor. His (Father Huang’s) intervention could have well provided just enough impediment to make all the difference,” Capala said.
Capala added that at Arvisu House at Katipunan Road between UP and Ateneo University in Quezon City, another Jesuit, was likewise “permissive in allowing him to stay and spend nights inside Fr. Padua’s room.” He said his stay in Arvisu House lasted about one and a half months.” He identified the Jesuit as Fr. Art Borja.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Capala said Father Mangulabnan is now chaplain of Ateneo de Manila Law School; Father Huang is in Rome; while Father Borja is a rector of San Jose seminary inside the Ateneo de Manila University campus in Quezon City.
Capala said he wants his case brought into international attention because he “has no faith in the Philippine justice system.” Capala, born a Muslim in Zamboanga City, had converted to Roman Catholicism when he was a student. He went into self-exile in Australia in 1992 and had converted as an Iglesia Ni Cristo.
Reached for comment, Fr. Nono Alfonso, SJ, director of Jesuit Communications in the Philippines, said in email to this reporter that “Fr. Tony Moreno is in Rome right now; his assistant or socius has asked me to respond to your email.
“To your questions therefore: Yes, Mr. Rasidh Capala wrote to the Provincial last October concerning allegations of sexual abuse committed against him by an ex-Jesuit some 30 years ago. Immediately, as required by the Protocols on Sexual Abuse of the Philippine Province and the CBCP, the Provincial appointed an investigator to look into the allegations. The investigation is ongoing, including the alleged roles played by the other Jesuits named in the case.
“We do not have the death certificate of Fr. Jack Padua because at the time of his death, he was no longer a Jesuit. He was ordained as a Jesuit Priest in 1988 but left the Society of Jesus in 1998. He would later join the Archdiocese of Manila where he served till his death last August. Perhaps, they have a copy of the death certificate you are requesting.”