Thursday, June 16, 2005

Ong kicked out of seminary for being a Mason?

By Jaime Laude and Non Alquitran
The Philippine Star 06/16/2005

Former National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) intelligence chief Samuel Ong was ordered to leave a Catholic seminary in Makati, where he had been seeking sanctuary, after a top police official told a bishop that Ong is a Mason, police and military sources said yesterday.

Ong sought refuge in the San Carlos seminary in Guadalupe Viejo, Makati last Friday after disclosing at a press conference that he had in his possession the "mother of all tapes," purportedly audio recordings containing a bugged conversation between President Arroyo and Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano about massive electoral fraud.

Sources told The STAR that Philippine National Police chief Director General Arturo Lomibao had informed Bishop Teodoro Bacani in a telephone call during Saturday’s negotiation for Ong’s surrender that Ong — like himself — belonged to the Freemasonry worldwide fraternal organization.

"Ong was asked to leave the (San Carlos) seminary after Church and seminary officials found that he is a Mason," a source said.

Sources added that Bacani, who was not ready to give up Ong, asked Lomibao to assure Ong’s safety if the Church decided to hand him over to the police.

"I can assure you of his safety and he will be accorded due process," Lomibao was quoted by sources saying to Bacani. "More so, he is a worthy brother Mason."

Lomibao told Bacani that Ong had recordings of an illegally wiretapped conversation, which was a criminal offense, sources added.

Lomibao also sought an audience with Archbishop of Manila Gaudencio Rosales to seek his help in convincing Ong to surrender.

Sources said upon learning that Ong was a Mason, Bacani and

the priests at the San Carlos Seminary courteously asked Ong to leave the compound.

"He was not kicked out of the San Carlos Seminary because he violated any rules for his continued stay, including his supposed granting of a media interview, but because he is a Mason," the source said.

Still concerned over Ong’s safety, three bishops and a priest helped Ong seek refuge at another location outside the confines of the Catholic Church, sources added.

A Catholic priest told The STAR the Catholic Church believes the real intention of the Free Masonry brotherhood is to destroy the Church.

"On the surface, most of the Mason members were being deceived that Free Masonry is but to promote a fraternal brotherhood," he said.

"But within the inner circle of the movement, their main objective is to destroy the Church."

The priest said people who wish to join the Mason brotherhood have to undergo several stages (of training) before they can be completely accepted into the group.

"Once you’re in, there’s no turning back," said the priest who now serves as a spiritual director of a seminary outside Metro Manila. "It’s just like a fraternity."

The Free Masonry Fraternal Brotherhood in the country is headed by Public Works Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr., who holds the title Grand Master.

Known Masons in the PNP are Lomibao; National Capital Region Police Office chief Deputy Director Vidal Querol; PNP directorial staff chief Deputy Director General Avelino Razon Jr.; former PNP chief Roberto Lastimoso; and former police general Reynaldo Berroya, now Land Transportation Office National Capital Region chief.

Other Masons include military and government officials, lawyers, doctors and other professionals.

Another Mason, Capiz provincial police director Senior Superintendent Cipriano Querol, said Free Masonry is not a religious organization but a brotherhood.

"The Free Masonry is a fraternal brotherhood regardless of religion and political beliefs," he said.

Reports said the Catholic Church has a standing and explicit teaching to all Church officials and lay members to be extra cautious in dealing with any member of the Free Masonry Brotherhood, except under special circumstances.

Freemasonry is a worldwide fraternal organization. Its members are joined together by shared ideals of both a moral and metaphysical nature, and, in most of its branches, by a common belief in a Supreme Being.

Freemasonry is an esoteric art, in that certain aspects of its internal work are not generally revealed to the public. Masons give numerous reasons for this, one of which is that Freemasonry uses an initiatory system of degrees to explore ethical and philosophical issues, and this system is less effective if the observer knows beforehand what will happen.

It often calls itself "a peculiar system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols."

In recent years, Freemasonry gained renown through American author Dan Brown’s best-selling novel, "The Da Vinci Code," whose main thesis is that Jesus Christ did not die on the cross but instead lived on after the crucifixion and sired a child by Mary Magdalene.

The Catholic Church has publicly condemned the novel.

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