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Bishop urges Filipinos to fight oppression, uphold truth

Manila's former apostolic administrator lays into 'government attacks on free speech, critics'

Bishop urges Filipinos to fight oppression, uphold truth

Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Taytay has called on people to resist what he says are government attempts to suppress free speech and the truth. (Photo: Mark Saludes/UCA News)

Manila’s former apostolic administrator has urged Filipinos not to bow to oppression and attacks on free speech by making sacrifices so that the truth prevails amid the political uncertainty gripping the country.

The newly appointed bishop of Taytay in Palawan province said Catholics should act like prophets and speak on God’s behalf.

“The prophet is the announcer of the message of God. A prophet’s message is not his. That’s why a prophet always says: Thus, says the Lord,” Bishop Broderick Pabillo said in a July 7 homily.

It is better to be persecuted for telling the truth than to suppress it, the prelate said in an apparent swipe at people spreading fake news on social media and the government’s alleged attacks on free speech.

“It is a platform where every Catholic is called to proclaim the truth, justice and peace … Let us examine politics by looking at what is true,” Bishop Pabillo said.

“Do not be afraid or be ashamed of proclaiming the truth. That is your right as citizens. Even politics needs to be enlightened with the truth.” 

It is not easy to be a prophet and truth-teller nowadays because of the trolls that bash and malign those who are independent-minded

He said truth-telling was a difficult task under President Rodrigo Duterte, pointing to his alleged use of internet trolls to discredit opponents online.

“It is not easy to be a prophet and truth-teller nowadays because of the trolls that bash and malign those who are independent-minded. They want to frighten and to silence us. But even if we are being attacked by our bashers, we shall continue to speak in God’s name,” he said.

Parishioners supported Bishop Pabillo’s call but said Catholics need more bishops to speak out on the Philippines’ political situation.

“It is different when we hear the truth straight from the mouths of our bishops proclaiming it without fear. It makes us feel assured that we are on the right path. Unless our shepherds become vocal advocates of the truth, we will find it difficult to proclaim it,” Pampanga parishioner Dylan Rosario told UCA News.

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