Opposition candidates defend Caloocan bishop from Duterte’s remarks
Senatorial candidates from the opposition have defended Caloocan Bishop Pablo David from new tirades made by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Liberal Party (LP) stalwart and human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, Duterte’s allegations that David is involved in the illegal drug trade has no basis.
“President Duterte has again launched another incoherent and baseless attack against his critics. Hindi makatarungan ang pananakot kay Bishop Ambo David; wala ring basehan ang mga alegasyon laban sa kanya (The harrasment of Bishop Ambo David is not fair; allegations against him have no basis),” Diokno said.
In a speech in Davao on Monday, the President speculated that the reason behind a certain David’s nightly rounds is the illegal drug trade. He also threatened to have the “bishop’s” head cut off if it is proven that he is selling drugs.
Bishop David said that he was never into any legal or illegal drugs, and was only taking vitamins from fruit shakes — something that he has urged Duterte to take.
“Into drugs? No Sir, I’m not into drugs of any sort, whether legal or illegal. Never been. I only help in rehabilitating people addicted to drugs. I partner with the anti-drug abuse councils/offices of the local government units of Caloocan, Malabon, and Navotas in this endeavor,” he said.
“Thank God I am not even taking any maintenance drugs yet. I only take vitamins with fruit shake blended with malunggay in the morning. You might want to try it, Sir. It will do you a lot of good. God bless you,” he added.
Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, who is also running in 2019 under LP, heralded David’s work in taking care of people who were affected by the administration’s war on illegal drugs.
“In every diocese that he has served, Bishop Ambo has left a lasting mark for his humanitarian work and compassion for the poor. Bishop Ambo’s heart for the poor and the oppressed became more evident during the time when they were killed without a warrant and without regard for their rights,” Hilbay said.
There were instances wherein David reacted to Duterte’s policies and statements. In one occasion, he even asked the people to pray for Duterte — who was supposedly very sick — after he lashed out at the Roman Catholic Church.
Duterte and the Church have not been on very good terms ever since he took office. The President has often poked fun at the practices of Catholics and their priests, while other members of the clergy have expressed their frustration with the government, especially the drug war and the killings of priests in the countryside. /ee
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