‘I gave no advice on ivory smuggling’-A A +A
Monday, October 1, 2012
MSGR. Cristobal Garcia claimed he was not the one who gave the “advice” on how to smuggle ivory into the United States.
Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal said Garcia, during a recent trip to Manila, told him that another person gave the statement and it was just attributed to him.
“He (Garcia) said it was another person, a woman, who said it,” Vidal said, adding that Garcia could not have known about smuggling ivory to the US.
“He (Garcia) could not go to the US (because of a decades-old child abuse case),” the prelate told Sun.Star Cebu.
Vidal was referring to the article written by Bryan Christy titled “Ivory Worship,” which is the cover story National Geographic magazine’s October issue.
Christy writes that Garcia told him that if he wanted to have an ivory Santo Niño he would have to smuggle it to the US.
Garcia was quoted as advising Christy to “wrap it in old, stinky underwear and pour ketchup on it.”
Since the article was posted online, teams from the Catholic church and government agencies have started to investigate on the alleged ivory trade in the country and the trade of religious artifacts made of ivory.
Officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) met again last Saturday and in a press release announced that statements would be limited.
“We will limit issuing statements on the ivory controversy until such time that the NBI, which leads the investigation with DENR providing technical support, concludes the probe,” the team said.
“This is to give them a more focused, thorough and exhaustive investigation. For now, we want to maintain the integrity of the probe as it continues to conduct or invite certain individuals to shed light on this pressing issue,” they added.
DENR Undersecretary Ernesto Adobo, during a press conference last Friday, said they would include the residence of Garcia in Cansojong, Talisay City as well as other collectors of religious artifacts.
A team led by Al Orolfo, protected area, wildlife conservation zone and management services (PAWCZMS) regional director, went to Cansojong on the same day, but were denied entry at the Archdiocesan Shrine of the Black Nazarene.
The team still has to meet with Garcia, who is undergoing a medical check-up in a hospital in Manila.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 01, 2012.