Filipino Priest
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CHICAGO – Sometimes, there is virtue in having pre-marital sex.

This is what Cristina Rome Ang, 45, of Roselle, Illinois realized.

Her husband, Anthony Sy Ang, 43, was not very forthcoming about his sexual preference when she agreed to marry him in Makati, Philippines in 2010.

In September 2015 when Anthony arrived in the United States to join Cristina so they can start a family, Cristina told Cook County Court Associate Judge John Thomas Carr in Chicago, Illinois that, “Respondent (Anthony Sy Ang) still refused to have intimacy and sexual intercourse with the petitioner (Cristina)  when they lived together in Roselle, Illinois,” citing “undisclosed” health problem.

Filing a no-contest annulment of their marriage, Cristina told the court that she had found out why he was very cold to her. Cristina said on or around May 4, 2016, she “discovered emails, text messages, and telephone calls between the respondent and an associate parish priest, who was a friend of the petitioner’s family. These contained explicit materials and communication of homosexual nature.”

“As a result, petitioner became distraught and depressed and confronted respondent as soon as he arrived from work,” she said, adding the “respondent became irate and called the police to report petitioner’s allegedly violent behavior.”

Cristina said the police came by but did not file any complaint against her. And the police advised her husband “to leave the marital house and stay away from the petitioner for 24 hours.”

The following day, Cristina said, while she was at work, “Respondent returned to their marital home and gathered all his personal belongings. He left the marital home with all his belongings, and petitioner has not seen respondent nor heard from him since.”

Cristina said, “Upon information and belief, the respondent is being concealed from the petitioner by the associate parish priest, who is believed to be having a sexual relationship with the respondent.”

Cristina filed a complaint against the associate priest with the Rockford Diocese where he serves as priest.

In a letter to Chicago’s Philippine Weekly editor Orly Bernardino, Cristina identified the associate parish priest as Fr. Joel Lopez, parochial administrator of the Christ the King Catholic church in Wonder Lake, Illinois.

In her letter, she stated that her husband, Anthony Ang, worked part-time at Manila Fiesta restaurant on Lake Avenue, Roselle, Illinois, a position that enabled him to meet some regular customers, among them Rev. Joel Lopez.

“It wasn’t long before Anthony and Fr. Lopez became noticeably close as friends, their relationship blossoming beyond the usual chatter between a restaurant worker and a regular client, one which I didn’t give any meaning knowing that Anthony is finally making friends in the community.”

Cristina learned, however, that when Anthony moved out of their home, it was Fr. Lopez, who found him “a place where my husband could stay for the meantime with a friend of his, Greg, in suburban Oak Park.”

 According to her, Greg told her that “Father Lopez even brought a portable heater for Tony and other personal items that he might need, like a comforter. Only then did I realize what role Fr. Lopez was playing. That instead of trying to fix our marriage, he wanted Anthony for himself.

Cristina said she had sent a complaint to Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford Diocese, who referred the complaint to Rev. Msgr. Daniel J. Deutsch, Pastor of St. Bridget, Loves Park and Episcopal Vicar for Clergy, Religious and Diocesan Chaplain for the American Heritage Girls. Fr. Lopez’s church is under the Rockford Diocese.

She said Rev. Msgr. Deutsch had told her “Father Joel has been informed of your complaint. While I can’t discuss details of personnel issues with you, know that the matter has been seriously dealt with and will continue to be monitored.”

Anthony may not, however, be able to keep an assumed name for long. He is expected to file an application to make his conditional immigration status permanent with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Cristina told Judge Carr that she has also contacted the Department of Homeland Security to report respondent’s fraudulent immigration scheme to obtain a “green card” based on his marriage to her.

The Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments of 1986 provides that aliens deriving their immigrant status based on a marriage of less than two years are conditional immigrants.

To remove their conditional status, the immigrants must apply at an U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office during the 90-day period before their second-year anniversary of receiving conditional status. Anthony should have filed for the removal of his conditional status in June 2017.

An email message to Father Lopez by this reporter did not generate any response.

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Joseph is a former reporter of the Manila Bulletin, former president of the Rizal-Metro Manila Reporters Association and former president of the Chicago chapter of the National Press Club of the Philippines. A native of Sorsogon, Philippines, he and his family now live in Chicago. A prolific reporter, Lariosa writes a column and news stories for the Filipino Star News and other Filipino community newspapers in the US as well as for GMA News and the Manila Bulletin.

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