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Priest in Tondo church row suspended

MANILA, Philippines — The Archdiocese of Manila on Wednesday suspended a priest reportedly involved in an altercation with a bishop inside a church in Tondo, Manila.

Fr. Alfonso Valeza of the St. Joseph Parish in Gagalangin, Tondo was also prohibited from exercising his priestly faculties for his “persistent defiance” toward Manila Archbishop Jose Cardinal Advincula despite “orders and warnings.”

“He is prohibited from administering the sacraments. Any sacrament he administers is illicit,” the archdiocese said.

In the past two years, Valeza allegedly defied orders compelling him to undergo counseling due to his “unstable personality,” according to Fr. Reginald Malicdem.

Valeza was recorded on video in an altercation with former Novaliches bishop Antonio Tobias.

Parishioners accused Tobias of trying to strangle Valeza during a commotion inside the parish office, supposedly the same day the archdiocese released its suspension order.

Valeza said the argument with Tobias was about his ouster from the parish due to his accusations against corrupt priests.

The archdiocese, however, said Valeza’s removal had nothing to do with his corruption allegation.

Valeza has been replaced by Malicdem, Fr. Nolan Que and Fr. Gilbert Kabigting as parochial administrators of the Tondo church.

The STAR tried to reach Valeza for comment, but the parish staff said he was scheduled for a meeting with the Archdiocese of Manila.