FACT CHECK: Baseless accusations vs Cardinal Tagle reappear after Caritas revamp

Dec. 17, 2022

CLAIM: Several Facebook (FB) pages shared anew the claims made by former Pres. Rodrigo Duterte in 2020 against Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle after Pope Francis fired the entire leadership of the Roman Catholic Church’s worldwide charity arm, Caritas Internationalis (CI), including Tagle who has been its president since 2015.

Such online posts begin with a caption, “Did Former President Rody Duterte Unmask Another Padre Damaso in 2020?” Along with it are quotes from Duterte’s speech at the 2020 General Assembly of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines.

Duterte previously alleged Tagle was “removed” as Archbishop of Manila because he angered Pope Francis for “meddling” in politics and for channeling church funds to finance the “yellows.”

“Yellow” or “dilaw” is a term often used to refer to members and supporters of the opposition political party Liberal Party.  



Tagle was appointed by Pope Francis as the pro prefect for the Congregation of the Evangelization of Peoples in December 2020. The former cardinal left Manila to assume his post.

After Tagle left for the Vatican, the Philippine bishops, including Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, the apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila, called the former president’s accusations against Tagle “unfounded.”

Meanwhile, the sacking of CI’s executives following a review of the workplace environment of Caritas was announced on November 22, in a papal decree.

Defending the Pope’s decision, Tagle said the result of a “careful and independent study” does not concern cases of sexual abuse or mismanagement of money.

The review, however, found deficiencies in “management and procedures, seriously prejudicing team spirit and staff morale.” The action aims to “improve its management norms and procedures” and better serve its charitable organizations worldwide, according to the Vatican. 

Tagle was elected as CI’s president in 2015 to serve until 2019. He was reelected for another term in 2019, which is supposed to last until May 2023. He was not involved in CI’s day-to-day operations, though.

In May 2020, the Pope promoted him to the highest rank of cardinal-bishop, making him the first Filipino cardinal to ever reach this rank and one of the only 11 senior cardinals.

In June this year, he was appointed as Pro-Prefect for the Section of Evangelization of the Dicastery for Evangelization, a department headed by the Pope himself.

Davao Today is part of #FactsFirstPH which brings together various sectors that are committed to promoting truth in the public space, and exacting accountability on those who harm it with lies. For those interested to join the initiative, email info@factsfirst.ph.

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