Davao ‘s Father Lamata a shame to the Catholic Church

DURIANBEATCOLUMN2Could you blame Davao City Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte if once in a while his mouth turns into a bazooka spewing verbal fire at the direction of Catholic priest Father Pedro “Pete” Lamata?

      He has an axe to grind against this man of the cloth cum politician.

      In the latest of such assaults, Duterte advised the padre to emulate Pope Benedict and resign as a priest.

But there is a whale of a difference between the blood-and-flesh St. Peter of the Catholic Church and the padre. Pope Benedict resigned for health reasons. Lamata, according to Duterte, should resign because of his womanizing!

      Lamata is a shame to the Catholic Church, Duterte once said.

      Apart from being a womanizer, according to Duterte (this is documented by a court case filed by a woman Lamata married two years into his priesthood, and scandalous stories in parishes he was assigned to), Lamata is a political animal who used his calling for his own politics.

      To make it short: Lamata campaigned openly for the mayoral bid of former Speaker Prospero Nograles in his fight against Mayor Sara Duterte, Duterte’s daughter, in the 2010 elections. Nograles, and Lamata, lost that fight, with Mayor Sara winning with a vote margin of more than 280,000.

      Apparently, Lamata has not learned a lesson from the fact that priests are priests and should stick to ministering to religious concerns and not launch a foray into politics….or you get rained with ugly, verbal scuds.

      Last year, Lamata got enamored with the Kadayawan, the city’s annual festivity of thanksgiving for good harvest, but went into an attack mood to charge City Hall of giving a religious color to the festival. What a freak! The Kadayawan has nothing to do with religion.

Of course, Duterte did not forgive him for that. Turning into a bazooka in a television program, he asked then newly-assumed Archbishop Romulo Valles to exile the padre to Somalia.

Going farther, Duterte also asked Monsignor Valles to conduct a morality probe on the priest, whose sexual life he said shamed bedtime stories in porn tabloids.

It is priests like Lamata who are driving away Catholics to other religions, according to Duterte.

Exiling the priest to foreign, cruel lands had also been sought by Duterte from Valles’ predecessor, Monsignor Fernando Capalla.

But it seems, Lamata is well-loved by the little popes of the Archdiocese of Davao: He remains the parish priest of St. Mary’s in Buhangin, where he, when the itch comes, regularly hurls verbal assaults from the pulpit at the Dutertes and City Hall.

What to do with a problem like Fr. Lamata? Duterte is helpless and is forced to repeat his call like a broken record to have Lamata exiled to foreign lands.

In his latest pronouncement on television following Pope Benedict’s resignation as head of the Catholic Church, Duterte said Lamata should follow in the footstep of the Pope and asked that the padre be exiled to Afghanistan.

The Catholic Church would be choosing Pope Benedict’s successor from the ranks of the cardinals which means there would be one Cardinal less after the new Pope is elected.

I hope Father Lamata would become a Cardinal and stay in Vatican so that he can spare the women of Davao from his womanizing, according to Duterte.

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Duterte tells priest:

Do a Pope Benedict

     A Catholic priest who dipped his fingers into politics in 2010 has earned an unsolicited advice from Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in wake of the resignation of Pope Benedict.

         Do a Pope Benedict, said Duterte on television in a message directed at Father Pedro Lamata.

         Fr. Lamata, parish priest of St. Mary Parish in Buhangin, openly supported former Speaker Prospero Nograles in the mayoral contest against now Mayor Sara Duterte in the last election. Nograles lost by more than 280,000 votes in a lopsided battle against the daughter of the vice mayor.

         In the course of the election campaign, Fr. Lamata allowed the church ground for campaign rallies of Nograles, used the pulpit in assailing alleged anomalies in the administration of then outgoing then elder Duterte, who was the sitting mayor, and mobilized, as head of the Archdiocese Social Action Center, a Catholic vote in support for Nograles.

         Fr. Lamata’s foray into politics earned censure from then Davao Archbishop Fernando Capalla, who advised the priest not to meddle in local politics.

         In the Gikan sa Masa Para sa Masa television program on ABS/CBN, Duterte said he wished Fr. Lamata would become a Cardinal so that he will leave the city and spare the women of Davao from his womanizing.

         In the 2010 election, Fr. Lamata’s torment in the hands of Duterte did not stop after Mayor Sara Duterte won.

         Days after the votes were counted, several large billboards sprouted up along the South Diversion Highway in Buhangin with the letters “Pikat Nimo Pete” alongside an image of an eye with lower lids pulled down by a forefinger.   Pete is the Lamata’s nickname; pikat is a jeering word in Bisaya. ROGER M. BALANZA

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