I had another flashback lately. I saw myself on the roofdeck of Loyola School of Theology having a conversation with the now Jesuit priest, Fr. Nono Alfonso. Our conversation focused on Fr. Victor R. Salanga, SJ, then president of Loyola School of Theology (LST). Nono Alfonso asked me about the extent that LST employees knew about the case of sexual abuse committed by Fr. Salanga. His victim was a Jesuit novice who, as was related to me, altered his life to become a lawyer in order to get back at Fr. Salanga. The sexual abuse happened in the context of spiritual direction. Fr. Salanga’s victim was a friend of Nono Alfonso. I only know the victim by name. The case was common knowledge to many of the LST employees. I was librarian of LST for some eleven years. I remember we were informally talking about the case among the library staff. Nono Alfonso also told me about how Fr. Salanga attempted to sexually abuse him. Fr. Salanga is now in the United States. I was told that he cannot go back to the Philippines as one of the conditions set by his victim.
As we continue to talk, I told Nono Alfonso that I was also sexually abused by a Jesuit, by Fr. Ruben Tanseco. He encouraged me to disclose my sexual abuse experience to the Jesuit superior. Some days after we talked, I went to see my spiritual director, Fr. Thomas Green, SJ. Fr. Green and Fr. Tanseco were good friends. I can remember how he discouraged me from disclosing to Jesuit superiors. I made Nono Alfonso aware about what my spiritual director said regarding my case. He did not like it. But I finally decided to make the disclosure. The Jesuit provincial superior during that time was Fr. Danny Huang who happened to be in Rome for a general congregation. The acting provincial superior in his absence was Fr. Mario Francisco who was President of Loyola School of Theology at that time. As a concrete move, I wrote a disclosure letter. After finishing the letter, I saw Lando Jaluag in the library. I asked him to read my letter before I printed it. After printing it out, I put the letter in an envelop and gave the letter to Fr. Mario Francisco. I still have the hard copy of the letter with some editing on it. Fr. Mario acted quite quickly and went to see Fr. Tanseco. Soon enough, I got a reply in writing from Fr. Mario. I still keep the copy of that letter. In that letter, I was told not to talk to anybody about the sexual abuse that Fr. Ruben Tanseco did to me. Obviously, I was silenced.
My roofdeck encounter with Nono Alfonso was a “MeToo” moment for me. That encounter also marked the beginning of my interior struggle that continues until today.