By Raïssa Robles
Millions of Filipinos spent today, January 9, struggling through crushing crowds for a chance to touch, or even just glimpse the Black Nazarene as it was paraded around Manila.
But for detained businesswoman and accused huckster Janet Lim Napoles, getting close to the icon was no problem. It was regularly and personally brought to her mansion by its priest-custodian, Monsignor Josefino Ramirez.
Just think, my hubby Alan told me, of the fondling opportunities Napoles had with the Black Nazarene. She totally had her way with the icon.
And yet, instead of criticizing this gross favoritism extended to the accused con artist, who reportedly helped herself to billions of the people’s money, the Catholic clergy has chosen to stay silent, with some church officials even defending the actions of their fellow prelate, Msgr Ramirez.
UPDATE as of January 14, 2014 at 5:33 PM
A commenter going by the name “Songstress” has written that it was a replica of the Nazarene that was brought to Napoles’ mansion. A replica that Napoles herself commissioned.
I based my article on the affidavit of Napoles’ nephew-aide Benhur Luy that it was the real Nazarene that was trundled to Napoles. I suggest Songstress, assuming she has any evidence at all, get in touch with him.
By the way, no Church official has ever come out saying it was a replica. Plus, when you watch this ABS-CBN interview with Bishop Antonio Tobias, it’s clear that it was the real icon they were talking about. I clipped a portion of Bishop Tobias’ interview. You can watch it yourself below:
As for the commenter named “John S” who insinuates that I am getting money from the Gates Foundation, the World Health Organization and pro-abortion groups to sustain this blog and attack the Church, I am not. Get a life. But before that, get a real name. Don’t hide behind anonymous accounts. Only cowardly trolls with nothing to say do that.
When I first heard this news, I could not believe it. I held off writing about it and tried contacting Msgr Ramirez for weeks last year. Finally, I was able to contact the very place he was staying in. I was told he was not available. I left word that I wanted to speak with him. He never got in touch with me.
Instead, he opted to issue a written statement explaining why Napoles deserved to have the Black Nazarene brought to her personally. He said Napoles’ mother,
“Magdalena Luy Lim has always supported our apostolate for the poor most especially the Pantawid Gutom Feeding for the street people and malnourished children both in Binondo (1992-2004) and Quiapo (2004-2007) Parishes. When I was transferred to Divine Mercy Shrine in Mandaluyong City in 2007 she also helped our program for the elderly and our prison ministry in New Bilibid Prison.”
Apparently, he had a regular stipend from Napoles:
ABS-CBN also quoted Ramirez as saying the following:
“Magdalena Lim Luy heeded the call of then-Pope Benedict to help poor priests and seminarians in China…Ramirez explained that Napoles and her family were continuing their mother’s advocacies through the Magdalena Lim Luy Charity Foundation, a group that Napoles now owns.”
The Monsignor’s statement is very clear –
“Since her death on February 28, 2008, her family, relatives and friends, especially Filipino-Chinese devotees, continue to contribute in her memory to the now referred Magdalena Luy Lim Charity Foundation in the Service of Divine Mercy Inc.”
Sounds quite commendable, right? Napoles and her family ran a charity foundation for the poor, therefore she was entitled to a house call by the Black Nazarene.
Except for one problem: the Monsignor told the Securities and Exchange Commission – the foundation was never operational.
♦The incorporation papers of Magdalena Luy Limchu Charity Foundation in the Service of Divine Mercy, Inc. named Monsignor Ramirez as the “president/chairman” and Janet Lim Napoles as the treasurer.
♦It was registered with the SEC on March 4, 2011 or over two years after the death of Napoles’ mother.The charitable foundation’s primary purpose was to provide scholarships to the poor, particularly those wanted to become priests or nuns; provide medical care and support for retired religious; and provide assistance to poorest of the poor especially the children and elderly.
♦A 2011 financial statement reported that the foundation had assets of P1 million of which P879,305 was in cash.
♦But the following year 2012, Monsignor Josefino Ramirez signed an “affidavit of non-operation” and this was submitted to the SEC. He said under oath that the foundation was never operational since it began on March 4, 2011.
Here’s the first part of his affidavit:
And here’s the second part:
If that is the case, where was all that in-flow of money to the Magdalena Luy Lim Charity Foundation going if the foundation was not operational?
For starters, where did its million pesos in cash go?
Just FYI, Monsignor Ramirez is the same priest who issued a signed affidavit attesting that whistleblower Benhur Luy was never ordered kidnapped and kept against his will in a safehouse full of priests by the Napoles siblings – the same place used to house visiting and retired priests.
Ramirez is the same priest who told the SEC that the charity foundation he chaired and of which Napoles was the treasurer was never operational.
The Nazarene home visits to Napoles underscore the deep need for reform inside the Catholic Church. The Church has drummed into every Catholic that everyone is equal in the eyes of the Lord. Except that some might be more equal than others.
Lucky Napoles is personally visited by the Black Nazarene (c/o Msgr. Josefino “Pepe” Ramirez, well, the image, that is. That is according to Benhur Luy et al’s affidavits.
Presently, Quiapo church has two pilgrim images of the black Nazarene called Callejeros, one made by Estonactoc and the other carved by Maglaqui.
The Estonactoc carving was commissioned by a Msgr. Ignacio, I believe.
The Maglaqui creation was a donation from someone. Was it commissioned by Napoles that is why it is being brought personally to her home on occasions???
I guess, not only does Napoles is lucky, she is continually blessed by ‘holy‘ men on account of her huge bankrolling of the church. (The bankrolling was used for church’s activities even Bishop Tobias declared.)
I was asked…
1. No. There is no reason to believe Msgr. Ramirez deceives his BFF Napoles with an image coming from any village in Quiapo.
2. No. I trust @raissa. However, a lot of times I do further readings if I wanted to and share them through my comments.
Besides, there is no reason to doubt the testimony of the affiant Benhur Luy at present. Well, below is what I mined from the Net:
One VICARIO and Three CALLEJEROs of the Black Nazarene
There were actually two identical images of the Black Nazarene brought to Manila. One housed in a church in Bagumbayan (later transferred to Intramuros) and another housed in Quiapo.
The Bagumbayan image, believed to be the original as it is the first one brought to Manila and the most famous of the two, perished in the liberation of Manila in 1945 leaving a lone image: the one in Quiapo.
The Fathers of Quiapo opted to commission a replica creation of the remaining Black Nazarene image. It was done by Maglaqui.
Technically, there became two replicas, each of them a composite of the second identical image brought to Manila:
1. Bust of the 2nd image with the body done by Maglaqui (VICARIO), and
2. Bust done by Maglaqui with the body of the 2nd image (CALLEJERO).
It was said that the two Quiapo replicas were alternately used for the pilgrimage procession. However, the first composite was later on just left in Quiapo church and the second composite was placed in a church in Cagayan de Oro (CDO) in 2009 to serve the devotees in the South.
An Estonactoc carving replaced the second composite to become the new Quiapo Callejero. Someone donated a new Maglaqui creation and this replica became the alternate Callejero. (Perhaps, Napoles through Msgr. Ignacio commissioned the creation of the newest Callejero.)
Thus, there is one Vicario and two Callejeros in Quiapo and one Callejero in CDO. All, in effect, are replicas of the Bagumbayan image done by an unknown Mexican carpenter whose creation was destroyed in the war.
Some devotees, probably, would now ask what image (replica) was used in the pilgrimage procession this year?
Was it the Estonactoc carving or was it the Maglaqui creation?
Perhaps that’s the significance of my comment about the LOGBOOK here…
Well, other questions now are:
Who commissioned the newest Callejero (Maglaqui creation)? Was it Napoles? Was Napoles its previous owner that the “special audience” in her home is justified as what Bishop Tobias opined?
My turn to ask you, @songstress.
What do you really know?
Now that is a very relevant question for @songstress. “What do you really know?” that we don’t?
Your claim “Why is it I never saw you there?” Whistle or blurt it out to release your stress. (And save the lies (out of tune) and gossips (flat notes))
One, two or three replicas? What does it matter? The living can talk and show their Likes and Shares who sucks and fleece with one another. (read: Priest, family, friends ‘celebrate’ Napoles’ 50th birthday, http://www.rappler.com/nation/48056-napoles-50th-birthday-in-detention)
@songstress, this article shouldn’t stress yours as a handle and per interpretation for a Song performance.
Devil's Advocate says
I once had a meeting over lunch with Monsignor Ramirez during the 400th year anniversary of the Black Nazarene.. The lunch meeting was held at his office in the Quiapo Basilica. One look at the monsignor and you would be reminded of a heartless politician. Obese and a great pretender. . . The food we partook was provided by a devotee of the Nazareno. We had altar boys attending to our needs acting like waiters. Steamed Fish was one of the fares we had and the altar boys would serve the dish after thoroughly deboning it to the Monsignor. . . . parang pontio pilato na pinagsisilbihan. Kaya it ismy conclusion na isa na ito sa mga pareng binabanggit ni Pope Francis na nandyan for the money and nothing else. His association with Napoles all the more enforces my belief na corrupt si Monsignor. Good thing I heard na hindi na siya ang namamahala ngayon sa Quiapo. By the way, prior to Quiapo, the monsignor was the head of the San Miguel Parish of Malacanang.
jorge bernas says
@ Devil’s A,
Parang Pontio Pilato na pinagsisilbihan si Ramirez nang mga altar boys na ginawang waiters, nainis ako at nalungkot dahil baliktad yata sa ipinakitang halimbawa ni Jesus Christ noon na siya mismo ang nagpapakain sa mga mamamayan nagugutom…
Napuna na mismo ni Pope Francis ang magarbong pamumuhay nang mga kaparian at mga butihin Bishop at sana magbago na sila at magpakita nang magandang halimbawa na kanais nais para pamarisan, Amen….
There are presently two blackened statues of the Nazarene. Not one of them is the original icon anymore because when the centuries old statue lost some of its body parts, a replica was made by sculptor Gener Manlaqui. Two composite statues resulted. One comprises of the original head and the replicated body while the other comprises the original body and the replicated head.
To my understanding both of the composite statues are replicas. Maybe partly but nevertheless not the original anymore. So that whichever of the two composite statues are brought by Msgr. Ramirez to Napoles is surely not the original.
“The present-day statue enshrined in Quiapo Church is in fact a composite of the original head and a replica body, the latter sculpted by renowned Filipino Santero (saint-maker) Gener Manlaqui. A second composite statue of the original body and the Manlaqui replica’s head is enshrined in a different location, emerging only for the three major annual processions. This arrangement began in the 1990s because of security concerns for the image; up to that point, the original image in its entirety was processed.”
Erratum: are brought should be “is” brought.
John S says
May we How much is the price for this Ms. Raissa? Did the Gates Foundation, UN-WHO and Pro-Abortion Groups already transferred the amount for this write-up also for the maintenance of your website, etc. Again, you are assailing and attacking the Catholic Church to promote your vicious journalism kuno. The Nazarene image you are talking about is a replica owned personally by the late-Magdalena and it is only the Monsignor who happen to be the rector of Quiapo by then, so of course Magdalena will request the Rector of the original image to do the religious practices in pamamanata for her own replica and many Catholics who owns their personal replica do this-taking the pastoral service of rectors. About the money thing, You do not know the background of the Monsignor. Again you are showing your real unfair kind of journalism. Palibahasa hindi ka Katoliko kaya you would not do an inch more of research.
I’ve replied to you in an update. See my story above.
John S, a cowardly anonymous Katolitroll of low intelligence and serious dementia, has butted him. Do you want to
(1) take it seriously
(2) laugh at it?
(3) call its yaya to make it palo palo?
vander anievas says
here in cpm, there is no color, no religion, no race, no age, whatever.
cpmers(as commenters here are called) of wisdom wont stay here any longer if they will find any bias in ms. raissa’s post.
you can try it here. stay longer and you’ll find the answer…
patiently read her articles if i may suggest…
@ songstress @ john s
As they say ” birds of a feather flock together”, so both of you, together with Napoles are nasty pieces of work who have become the vermin of the earth. I wonder how much Napoles is paying you to stoop so low that your heads nearly touching the ground where you are standing. You are accusing raissa of shenanigans, but look at you. aren’t you one of the most culprits of shenanigans by your association with Napoles. I would say you don’t know what you are talking about raissa, as she is one of the most decent and honest people in pinas. Next time you should know what you’re talking so it won’t boomeranged in your face.
jorge bernas says
@ John S.,
John S., Tanungin mo nga si josefino pepe Ramirez kong dapat siyang tumira/magrenta sa napakamahal na mansion ni janet napoles gayong umaasa ka lamang sa abuloy nang iyong nasasakupan?
To the commenter who calls himself “erap estrada” – pls change your handle.
So as not to confuse fellow commenters.
ai bayani says
Really in Forbes Park! Asan ang vow of poverty nyo? Bilib nga ako sa mga pari ngayon, naka tablet , naka S4, DSLR na camera, hindi naman sa wala silang karapatan, pero iba ang tungkulin nila at sinumpaan nila sa Diyos.. politiko at taong simbahan di na ba nagkakalayo? hindi po ito ang tahanan natin, we are all passers by in this world.. isip isip din po pag may time.
BINAY NO NO says
in reading all the news about corruptions being uncovered in all kinds of places, i cannot help but think what difference it makes that the person at the very top is or is not perceived as the king of kurakot. it is so very important for the morale of the nation to know that their leader is someone who does not have the wang wang mentality and who does not consider his position of power as entitling him to “a little courtesy” (i.e. exempted from rules for ordinary citizens). i shudder to think that in 2016 we might have a president who makes corruption the accepted way of life. all the processions and devotion to the black nazarene noptwithstanding. our nation’s journey will again be waylaid and the nation’s poor will remain beholden to kindhearted (kuno) priests and magdalena luys.
Bogus statue of the black Nazarene, “bogus” priest Josefino Ramirez and bogus faith of Jenny Napoles.
Many old timer devotees of the black Nazarene already knew that the statue had been replicated by sculptor Gener Manlaqui in early 1990s because the centuries old original statue lost some of its parts. And I believe that the bogus and rogue priest Ramirez “regularly and personally” brought said bogus statue for a hefty some of money in the home of Napoles who professed a bogus devotion to the black Nazarene.
I bet, those lost parts were actually canibalized, secretly removed and sold as religious reliquary bringer of good luck and longer life.
@baycas – I’m holding one of your links for another posting.
A timely addition to your series…
wala nang kapatawaran si napoles and company here on earth and in heaven. Bakit ko nasabi yan? Pati gawaing kabutihan para sa mahirap nagamit nila para sa pangongorakot.
Kung ako nga walang ninakaw na milliones o barya man lang, di pa nakakasigurado na sa langit or paraisong ng Allah or God ako mapupunta, sila pang mga hinayupak na nagnanakaw sa pera ng mga maliliit na taxpayer?? Super dimonyo and super dimonya silang mga magnanakaw…walang konsensya kapal pa ng mukha ipagtanggol sarili nila at kung anu ano pang alibi…
So what do we learn from Raissa’s blogs so far?
To review, here are some simple multiple, select-the-best-answer, questions:
1. What did Janet Lim Napoles and Ferdinand Marcos wanted to give Msgr. Ramirez?
2. What do birds of the same feather do together?
a. pray together
b. prey together
3. What does wang-wang mentality mean?
a. Do not open an umbrella at night when there is no rain.
b. Do not pay rent to your landlady with her own money.
4. Yolanda and Napoles are the most destructive _______in recent memory.
5. Which of the following group of words can be found in a blog post?
a. murderous, mysterious, bus, Binay
b. Loi, Guia, Napoles, Ramirez
Ooops, correction for item 3:
3. What does wang-wang mentality mean?
a. Opening an umbrella when there is no rain.
b. Paying rent to your landlady with her own money.
vander anievas says
Very truely my God works in a mysterious ways…revealing the objects of Corruption and Idolatry.. Everything comes to light now. Keep Praying for our Nation in Jesus Name!
Farshed Sali says
This is my comment concerning the black nazarene of Quiapo
The biggest religious gathering in history happened in India with more than 70 million participants. Ang picture o sculpture na iniidolo ng marami at tinatawag na Hesus ay walang makapagpatotoo na ito nga ang tunay niyang larawan.
Ni ang mga pare o ng mga naging papa sa Roma ay hindi nila maideclara na ang Black Nazarene o ibang sinasabing larawan ni Hesus ay tunay na siya ito.
Isang kahangalan sa isang larawan na hindi pag aari ng Panginoong Hesus ang ipuprusisyon sa mga kalsada at tatawaging Hesus ng Nazareth. Ang mga tao ay namamanata sa sculptor na ito na hindi larawan ni Hesus. Idolatry ang tawag doon.
Si San Pedro na kasakasama ni Hesus na sinasabing unang Papa ng Catholic Church ay hindi pinatutuhanan ang larawan ni Hesus. Hindi rin iginawan ng larawan nina Santiago at si Judas (Author of James and Jude in New Testament) na mga tunay na kapatid ni Hesus sa ina nilang si Virgin Mary.
Isa sa mga gumuhit ng larawan ni Hesus ay si Leonardo Da Vinci na pinanganak noong April 15, 1452, in Vinci, Italy.
Nawa ay mabuksan ang ating mga puso at isip. Huwag ibandera ang isang larawang walang nakakaalam na siya ang tunay na Hesus at sinasamba pa ng marami ang larawang ito. Upang makaiwas sa mali mas mainam na magdasal o magsimba na huwag gagamit ng larawan upang hindi mapasama sa mga sinumpa ng Diyos.
like the shroud of turin with the face of the crucified jesus on it, it was tested, carbon dated, and found to be fake.
Hindi sinsamba ang mga imahe. Kaya nga imahe kasi IMAGE. Mere represetation ng pinaniniwalaan mo. Bakit ba may kanya kanyang kasulatan ang mga relihiyon na nagsasabi na galing iyon sa diyos nila? Gaano kasigurado na sa diyos yun galing? What these representatives do is to put order in praying? Para magkaroon ka ng space at focus. Hindi yung mamamanata ka sa kubeta o casino. May lugar.
If you’re going to play the premise na hindi naman na-authenticate at napatotohanan ang images, then wag ka maniwalang may diyos kasi wala rin naman makapagpatotoo o makapagbigay ng proof diba? Mag-isip ka.
Kaya nga FAITH eh.
Please. Respect the religious beliefs of others, no matter how inane, fake, hypocritical, absurd, foolish, etc it may seem to you. You have your own way of communing with your God, and we don’t give a damn on how you do it, as long as you don’t take away our lives, liberty, and property.
The gist of Raissa’s article is the seemingly double-standard what should be a uniform practice of religion. I guess Catholics as a whole would be aghast to know that while others risk their lives to join the Black Nazarene procession, some of their church leaders would make things easier for favored constituents because of money and influence.
Right you are, Bongklok