‘Biting’ raps vs N. Vizcaya priest dropped
BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya–The provincial prosecutor’s office here on Wednesday dismissed the unjust vexation charges against a Catholic priest for allegedly biting the lips of a woman in July last year.
In a resolution, Prosecutor Marianina Claudette Guilbert moved for the dropping of the complaint filed against Fr. Elmer Saludares, parish priest of Saint Anne Parish in Dupax Del Norte town for lack of merit and for having been filed out of time.
The suit arose from a complaint filed by one Genalyn Abello, allegedly an entertainer at a videoke bar in San Antonio village in Bambang town, who accused Saludares of supposedly kissing her and biting her lips on the night of July 17, 2007.
The prosecutor, however, noted that Abello filed her complaint only in February, or seven months after the alleged incident. Citing the law, Guilbert said light felonies such as unjust vexation lapse in two months.
Besides, for the woman to cry foul over alleged lewd conduct of her male customers is “hypocritical”, Guilbert said.
“The act complained of would not constitute an act of lasciviousness as the very nature of the complainant’s occupation is to entertain male customers of the videoke bar and advances made by customers are occupational hazards,” she added.
Sought for comment, Bishop Ramon Villena of the Diocese of Bayombong expressed relief over the dismissal of the complaint, which, he said, was a form of harassment waged by police officers who were irked by his campaign against the illegal numbers game.
“It is clear that these police officers tried to wield their influence by pushing the complainant to file charges despite its lack of basis. In the end, their devious motives failed,” he said.
Villena said he was happy that the dismissal “will now put an end on this that has affected the entire diocese”.
But while recommending the dismissal of the complaint, the lady prosecutor, however, chided the priest for his conduct: “Although the complaint deserves scant attention, respondent, who is a religious, should refrain from defiling his holy garb by frequenting such places.”