Fake priest caught collecting donations at fiesta
Rey Galupo (The Philippine Star) - February 12, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A man who posed as a priest of the Aglipayan Church was arrested for allegedly collecting donations during a fiesta in Tondo, Manila Sunday afternoon.

Marlon Ponterez, 38, was giving a pep talk and accepting donations from residents of Happy Land in Barangay 105 when he was accosted at around 3:50 p.m., according to Superintendent Rey Magdaluyo, Manila Police District Station 1 commander.

A resident became suspicious when Ponterez – who was accompanied by his mother and sister – inserted the money he received in between the pages of the Bible he was carrying, Magdaluyo said.

“Normally a priest or a preacher would not place the money inside the Bible since they consider it holy. The person immediately went to the police and requested to check the suspect’s background,” Magdaluyo told The STAR.

Investigators learned that Ponterez served time for car theft and was released in late 2018. 

He admitted that he belongs to a gang whose members pose as priests and go to areas where fiestas are being held.

Magdaluyo said charges of usurpation of authority and robbery extortion was filed at the Manila prosecutor’s office against Ponterez yesterday.

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