Cebu, Philippines, Sep 27, 2012 / 09:50 am
A National Geographic story on ivory smuggling has renewed focus on a prominent Philippines priest accused of sexual abuse in Los Angeles in the 1980s.
Monsignor Cristobal Garcia, an ivory collector, told a National Geographic correspondent he could smuggle ivory into the U.S. by wrapping it in "old, stinky underwear" and pouring ketchup on it.
The smuggling remarks, published in the October 2012 issue of National Geographic, caused a controversy which revealed that Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu suspended the priest in June because of the Vatican's ongoing investigation of the child abuse case against him.
In a Sept. 26 statement from the Cebu archdiocese, Archbishop Palma explained that the abuse investigation began "long before the (ivory trade) controversy erupted."