PARENTS and alumni of the St. John's Institute (SJI) in Bacolod City urged Bishop Patricio Buzon to expedite their request to revert the Hua Ming or Queen of Peace Parish to a chapel.
The Parents Council led by Odette Ong-Gomez, Karen Lo-Tsai, and lawyer Jan Saril, also an alumnus, held a press conference Tuesday (January 24) to express their support to the move to return the church to a chaplaincy so that the school can manage it.
They said reverting back the church into a mere chapel of SJI is "in line with the very purpose its founders intended it to be and that is to educate the Chinese children and evangelize them at the same time."
Hua Ming Church founder, the late Msgr. John Su, wished before his death that the church be returned to the care and management of the school, they added.
"We own the church, we have the title, and we have the land in our possession," Lo- Tsai said.
She added that when they first talked with Buzon, he told them that he will decide "based on who owns the church, will manage the church."
"We were brought up in a Chinese way where we respect the elders," she said, adding that Su was very sharp when he thought writing former Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra on his wish that the church be reverted back to a chapel.
Saril said their request has now "turned into a long drawn conflict which the new bishop inherited."
He said the issue started in 2014 when the SJI Board of Trustees and the school made a lot of appeals to the Diocese of Bacolod to sit down to solve the impasse.
"But everything fizzled out with the non-response of the former bishop. The Papal Nuncio said that the new bishop will resolve the matter because Navarra was already retiring. The new bishop met with SJI Board of Trustees where he said that this conflict is not really that difficult to be resolved," Saril said.
Buzon formed an ad hoc committee to enlighten him on how to deal with this matter, Lo-Tsai said.
"Last November 2016, we presented our case and on December 2016, Bishop Buzon called for a meeting and presented the findings of the ad hoc committee. The committee through the legal opinion of Atty. Lisa Rosario, legal counsel of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, said that the donation was indeed valid between the Montelibano family and the Diocese of Bacolod through a memorandum of agreement," she said.
Ong-Gomez, Lo Tsai, and Saril, however, insisted that the donation did not legally materialize because the title was officially transferred when founders had the Filipino personality to own the property.