House to File Complaint vs 'Exorcist'; 'It Made a Mockery of the Lower Chamber and of the Roman Catholic Church'

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Majority Leader Prospero Nograles of the House of Representatives yesterday revealed that the chamber will file a formal complaint before the Roman Catholic Church against Fr. Robert Reyes for insulting lawmakers by performing so-called "exorcism rites" at the Batasan Pambansa building last Monday.

Nograles said the House Committee on Ethics will also be asked to investigate the participation of three Akbayan sectoral representatives in the religious ceremonies that "have made a mockery not only of the entire House but also of Roman Catholicism."

Akbayan Reps. Loretta Ann Rosales, Risa Hontiveros and Mario Aguja denied the rites were intended to insult their colleagues in the chamber. They explained that the exorcism rites were aimed at ridding the chamber of the "evils patronage, partisanship and dishonesty to pave the way for the impeachment" of President Arroyo.

Last Monday, Reyes sprinkled holy water on a mural depicting House members, located at the main lobby of the Batasan building.

Garlands of garlic, said to be effective in driving away evil spirits, were also brought to the Batasan building for the ceremony.

"Fr. Reyes has not only overstepped the Constitutional boundary between religion and the state but has also made a mockery of Roman Catholicism. I think the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) should take the appropriate actions for this foul and malicious act of Fr. Reyes," Nograles said.

Nograles said Fr. Reyes behavior which may be considered as "slander by deeds against congressmen" will not be taken sitting down, saying that lawmakers will fight to defend the integrity of the Lower House as an institution. …