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Shrine administrators block Philippine inquiry on ivory smuggling

Catholic World News - October 03, 2012

In the Philippines, law-enforcement officials investigating the smuggling of ivory have complained that they were refused entry at a Catholic shrine, where a priest who is a focus of their investigation serves as administator.

Justice department officials report that they were turned away from the Shrine of the Black Nazarene by security guards, who told them that they could not enter without first speaking with lawyers for Msgr. Cristobal Garcia.

Msgr. Garcia apparently came under suspicion after his collection of ivory figurines was featured in National Georgraphic magazine. When reports of the police investigation became public, the Cebu archdiocese said that Msgr. Garcia was suspended from ministry as the result of a sex-abuse allegation stemming from his earlier work in the US.

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