Roman Catholic Church leaders in the Philippines apologized to their followers Monday for a scandal involving allegedly illegal donations to bishops.
The government's lotto operator is accused of making donations from the government's charity funds in exchange for political favors from bishops friendly to ex-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines has said the controversy deeply wounded the church and the bishops are sorry for the pain and sadness caused to church members.
A pastoral letter issued Monday assured that bishops concerned are ready to face consequences if their actions are proven illegal.
Philippine lawmakers began investigating the allegations last week.