Ousting Duterte is not part of my job as priest — Villegas
MANILA, Philippines — Ousting President Rodrigo Duterte “is not part of my mission as Archbishop,” Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said on Thursday after Peter Joemel Advincula, alias Bikoy, implicated him in the plot to oust the President.
Villegas, who was also the former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said that his role as a priest is to morally guide the public based on the teachings of the Church and not to overthrow the government.
“I am a priest. My mission is to continue the love of Jesus Christ and to teach His Truth always. 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. I cannot and will never lend a hand to use illegal or violent means for social change. Such will weaken our democratic foundations. This is contrary to my Christian conscience,” Villegas said in a statement posted in the website of Radyo Veritas.
He also noted that it is impossible for him and Advincula to meet in December 2018 at a university since he was in Bataan during the time.
“On the day and time, December 12, 2018 in the evening, that I allegedly met with some plotters to overthrow the government, I was in the parish church of Orani in Bataan to deliver the homily at the first Mass of a friend newly ordained priest,” Villegas said.
“As a mortal being like the rest of us, I have no capacity to be in two places at the same time,” he added.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David also denied meeting Advincula as he blasted the Philippine National Police (PNP) to focus its attention instead on the unresolved killings in the country.
PNP Chief Police General Oscar Albayalde, nevertheless, said that it would look into the new allegations provided by Advincula in his affidavit. (Editor: Jonathan P. Vicente)
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