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Philippines: priest will not face ivory-smuggling charges

January 31, 2014

Law-enforcement officials in the Philippines have dropped an investigation into a priest accused of illegal trafficking in ivory, saying that there is “no sufficient evidence” to justify the charge.

Msgr. Cristobal Garcia came under scrutiny last year, when the National Geographic magazine, pointing to his collection of religious figurines, accused him of complicity in the illegal trade. The magazine quoted Msgr. Garcia as explaining how ivory could be smuggled. But investigators could not find solid evidence to support a criminal charge.

Msgr. Garcia, who has dropped out of sight since the ivory-smuggling charges were leveled against him, had earlier been accused of sexual abuse. He has been suspended from ministry as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith investigates those charges.


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