Peter Joemel Advincula said he met with a number of Duterte critics, including the two bishops, before the release of the video linking Duterte’s family members in the illegal drugs trade last month. Advincula named Bishop David and Archbishop Villegas being among those involved in "Project Sodoma," an alleged plot aimed at destroying the credibility of the Duterte administration. In a statement released on June 6, Archbishop Villegas said he was elsewhere celebrating Mass when the alleged meeting supposedly transpired. "As a mortal being like the rest of us, I have no capacity to be in two places at the same time," read the prelate's statement. The former head of the Philippine Catholic bishops' conference said he could not and "will never lend a hand to the use of illegal or violent means for social change." "I believe in the power of electing officials; that is why I have tried my very best, as a priest and as a Filipino, to morally guide the people entrusted to my pastoral care," said Archbisho Villegas. Advincula, who earlier submitted a sworn affidavit to the police, claimed that the archbishop was present at a meeting on Dec. 12 at the Jesuit Residence at Ateneo de Manila University. Bishop David, current vice president of the bishops' conference, also denied the allegation linking him to the alleged plot against the president. "I wish to make it clear that I have never had the privilege of meeting with Senator (Antonio) Trillanes in person," said the bishop. Trillanes, an opposition legislator, was also among those accused of being behind the anti-Duterte video. In his statement, Bishop David called on authorities to put more time and effort into investigating drug-related killings than giving credence to "lies." National police chief Oscar Albayalde said the bishops "may be summoned to shed light on the accusations being leveled against them."
Stay up-to-date with what's happening in the Asian Church and what it means for the rest of the
The police chief, however, said investigators still have to determine whether the claims by Advincula, who was described by police as a "peddler of fake information," have enough basis. "We don’t take [his claims] as the gospel truth. He has to substantiate his statements with evidence," added Albayalde.
Lent is the season during which catechumens make their final preparations to be welcomed into the Church.
Each year during Lent, UCA News presents the stories of people who will join the Church in proclaiming that Jesus Christ is their Lord.
The stories of how women and men who will be baptized came to believe in Christ are inspirations for all of us as we prepare to celebrate the Church's chief feast.
Help us with your donations to bring such stories of faith that make a difference in the Church and society.