MANILA, July 10, 2013— A Catholic bishop has categorically dismissed media reports that he and his priests have been tapped as “consultants” of the Bulacan provincial government.

Citing a report from the Commission on Audit, newspaper reports alleged misspending and overspending by the provincial government of personal services last year.

It claimed of a violation of the separation of Church and State over the alleged hiring of “bishops and priests” as consultants and paid honoraria ranging from P9,000 to P22,500 a month.

The report, however, did not identify the religious affiliations of the said consultants.

“I don’t know of any my priests who have been hired as consultants,” Malolos Bishop Jose Oliveros, who is currently in Rome, said in a short statement.

Oliveros recalled there was one who identified himself as a bishop from Bulacan during President Benigno Aquino III’s third State of the Nation Address (SONA).

“He is not a Catholic bishop,” he said.

Oliveros added he received word from his Vicar General Msgr. Andres Valera and Chancellor Fr. Pablo Legazpi, Jr. that stipends extended to priests who celebrate Mass at provincial government offices come from the employees and their respective department heads and not from government coffers.

Sources at the provincial capitol said the person who identified himself bishop of a Christian church allegedly receives P20-25,000 as consultant to the Bulacan Provincial jail.  However, he has not been seen there for sometime. (Melo M. Acuna)