Filipinos Warned to Beware of Fake Priests


Filipinos making their traditional All Saints' Day visits to cemeteries should watch out for fake priests offering to bless the dead for money, a senior bishop warned Tuesday.

Security guards at cemeteries and people approached by these priests were advised to check their church-issued ID cards to make sure they are for real, said Bishop Deogracias Iniguez.

"There are these persons who offer themselves as priests and this is a day for them because there are so many people in the cemeteries who would like the tombs of their relatives to be blessed," he told Agence France Presse.

Reports have indicated the fake priests approach people at cemeteries -- especially the larger ones -- and offer prayers in exchange for cash, said Iniquez, head of the public affairs office of the country's Catholic bishops.

Over 80 percent of the Philippines' 94.9 million people are Catholics, who traditionally observe All Saint's Day on November 1 with visits to the cemetery to pray for the dead.