Caloocan bishop says he met ‘Bikoy,’ not Trillanes
MANILA, Philippines — Caloocan City Bishop Pablo Virgilio David on Thursday night said he had a “brief” encounter with Peter Joemel Advincula, also known as “Bikoy,” but clarified that the meeting between him, Advincula and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV was a false report.
Advincula earlier claimed having a meeting with Trillanes and several priests, including David, to discuss the videos in a move to unseat President Rodrigo Duterte and ensure the loss of administration-backed senatorial candidates in the recently concluded elections.
“The man’s (Advincula’s) claim that I had met with Senator Trillanes and a certain Jonel on February 9, 2019 in my residence in Caloocan City was a blatant lie. I said, in fact, I had never even met the senator in person. But Advincula himself? I did not realize until three months later that I had actually encountered him—albeit briefly,” David said in a Facebook post.
David said he “briefly” met Advincula on February 9 through Fr. Albert Alejo who asked for his advice over a “pressing concern.”
Alejo is the priest who Advincula claimed to be the one who introduced him to Trillanes as well.
“Fr. Alejo had texted a few days before asking if he could drop by my residence the soonest possible time that my schedule could accommodate. I told him it was a very busy week but, if he did not mind coming early at 7:30 a.m., I could spare him a little time on Saturday, February 9. His purpose? To ask for my advice about a ‘pressing concern,’” David said.
“I expected only him but he came accompanied by a man whom he did not even properly introduce to me. Since I could spare less than an hour and was rushing to another appointment at 9 a.m., I met them only for a little while, over coffee,” David added.
David said Alejo explained that Advincula’s life was “in danger” as he was being pursued and that he was in need of a sanctuary.
The bishop, however, advised Alejo that they have only provided sanctuary for cime-witnesses and “not to people who may have been involved in crimes themselves.”
“Situations like these are not new to us; the Church does indeed sometimes provide sanctuary to people who feel that their lives are in danger,” David said.
“The word ‘drug syndicate’ came across as a warning signal to me. I also advised him to seek help from people who might be in a better position to help deal with the man’s alleged situation and, at the same time, to check on the veracity of the man’s story,” David added.
The brief meeting, David said, ended without him asking Advincula’s name.
“He came and left as a total stranger to me,” David said.
“It was not until months later, when the man who had appeared as the hooded Bikoy on videos in the social media, removed his hoodie and identified himself as ‘Peter Joemel Advincula,” that I recognized the chubby bespectacled glib-talking young man I had briefly met on February 9, 2019. He was indeed the man who had sought help, claiming his life was in danger, that a whole drug syndicate was after him,” the bishop added.
READ: ‘Bikoy’ unmasks himself
While initially feeling guilty of not helping Advindula, David shared a realization that he would have provided a sanctuary for a “snake” if he was not in a rush during the meeting.
“Back then I even felt a little guilty that I had not offered more help than I could. Perhaps if I had not been in such a rush, I would have followed my instincts and naively provided sanctuary to a SNAKE! Thank God I was somehow reminded of Jesus’ warning, ‘Be innocent as doves but clever as serpents,’” David said.
After appearing at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and introducing himself as the hooded man in the videos, Advincula surrendered to the Philippine National Police and recanted his story, saying that it was Trillanes and the Liberal Party that orchestrated the videos. (Editor: Jonathan P. Vicente)