- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 21, 2009

ASUNCION, Paraguay | Paraguay’s president was hit with another paternity claim Monday, just a week after the former Roman Catholic bishop acknowledged fathering a different illegitimate child while still subject to his vows of chastity.

President Fernando Lugo, 57, neither confirmed nor denied fathering the 6-year-old boy, but read a brief statement promising to “act always in line with the truth and subject myself to all the requirements presented by the justice system.” He also appealed for privacy, referring all questions about paternity claims to his lawyer.

Two of Mr. Lugo’s Cabinet ministers said they were initiating judicial proceedings against their boss on the latest woman’s behalf, and vowed to order DNA tests if Mr. Lugo doesn’t acknowledge paternity.

Women’s Minister Gloria Rubin said Mr. Lugo later told her he agreed to DNA tests and said he would talk to the woman to try to reach an understanding with her.

When Mr. Lugo admitted last week that he fathered a 2-year-old boy with a different former parishioner, saying he would “assume all responsibilities” for the boy, analysts predicted his forthright response would disarm the potential scandal.

Now another paternity claim is sure to give his opponents more ammunition.

Mr. Lugo said last week that he was acting with a sense of “absolute honesty and a sense of duty and transparency” to acknowledge his relationship with Viviana Carrillo, the 2-year-old’s mother.

Benigna Leguizamon, an impoverished soap seller, said Mr. Lugo’s admission inspired her to go public about her 6-year-old.

“I decided to make this claim through the media before going to the courts after seeing that last week Viviana Carrillo got President Lugo to recognize their child,” she said.

Ms. Leguizamon said she arrived in Mr. Lugo’s San Pedro Diocese in 2000 at age 17 with an infant daughter and worked in the bishopric, where she began a relationship with Mr. Lugo. She told her story in interviews Monday with Paraguay’s Ultima Hora newspaper, Channel 4 television network and the Uno and Caritas de Asuncion radio stations.

Her son was born in September 2002, but she said Mr. Lugo gave her little money to support him and so she began a relationship with another man and now has four children. She said she earns a living selling homemade soaps and detergents door to door.

Many Paraguayans said the paternity scandal has been a black eye for both the government and the Catholic Church, to which 90 percent of Paraguayans say they belong.

Mr. Lugo resigned in 2004 as bishop of San Pedro, in the landlocked nation’s poorest province, and in December 2006 announced he was renouncing his bishop status to run for president. Pope Benedict XVI didn’t give him permission to resign, relieving him of his chastity vows, until July 2008, after insisting during Mr. Lugo’s campaign that he would always be a bishop under church law.

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