BACOLOD CITY: A 62-year-old Catholic priest wanted for rape was arrested at Camelot Subdivision, Barangay Estefania, Bacolod on Monday, March 27.
Police records show that Fr. Conrado Ursua Mantac is facing criminal charges for the alleged rape of a 17-year-old choir girl in Sagay City in 2022 with no bail granted for his temporary liberty.
The alleged rape happened while the priest was assigned in Sagay City.
Mantac, who is from Barangay Balatocan, Municipality of Looc, Romblon, was arrested by the police at around 6:05 pm by virtue of a warrant issued by Executive Judge Reginald Fuentebella of the Sagay Regional Trial Court Branch 73 on March 7.
The news of the alleged rape leading to the arrest of Mantac “pains me and the whole Diocese of San Carlos. In our diocese, we have been consistent in our teachings and advocacy against any form of sexual abuse of children, women and vulnerable persons, and such crimes committed by any person, and especially priests or religious, cannot be tolerated. This is a grave crime which contradicts the office of the priesthood,” he said.
Alminaza also assured that the Diocese of San Carlos will fully cooperate with the civil authorities and observe the legal process for the truth to come out and for justice to be served.
“Together with the whole diocese, we commit to provide the needed information openly and honestly to the public without reservations,” he said.
Alminaza assured the alleged victim and her family of support and protection.
The bishop said he deeply feels “the suffering of the victim and her family, and entrust her to the rightful agency which can provide proper care and assistance.”
As the father of the priests in the Diocese of San Carlos, Alminaza said he takes confidence in the words of Mantac that he will face the allegations against him.
“We also recognize his right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and thus support him in his efforts to establish his innocence in court,” Alminaza said.
Mantac denied raping the 17-year-old choir girl.
“While Fr. Mantac faces the crime of rape … we suspend all ministries with regard to his pastoral duties in the diocese. The Church will also proceed with its own canonical process,” Alminaza said.
As the case proceeds, Alminaza appealed to everyone “to keep their judgments as we await the proper disposition by the court. I implore you to pray for Fr. Mantac and the alleged victim, as well as to show them care.”
“May we be able to balance our zeal in the pursuit of justice and truth with caution, decency and respect,” he added.
Alminaza also called for prayers that the authorities, the lawyers, the guardians and all other parties involved, including himself, carry out their obligations in an “honest and truthful manner.”