In Pampanga, thousands attend Mass for clergymen with sedition raps
GUAGUA, Pampanga — At least 33 Catholic priests, led by San Fernando Archbishop Florentino Lavarias, led a holy Mass expressing solidarity with four bishops and three priests charged with sedition and other criminal cases in connection with ”Ang Totoong Narcolist” video linking President Rodrigo Duterte’s family members and allies to the illegal drugs trade.
About 3,000 laypeople also showed up during the Mass at the St. James Parish Church here to express their support for the Catholic leaders.
Lavarias, before starting the Mass, quickly corrected the lector for saying it was the President who filed the sedition charges.
“If we are standing up for truth, let us start with facts,” Lavarias said.
It was the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group that filed the sedition cases at the Department of Justice against the Church leaders as well as Vice President Leni Robredo and other personalities critical of Duterte.
In his homily, Lavarias said the clergymen were “falsely accused.”
The clergymen are Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)vice president and Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, former CBCP president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco, retired Bishop Teodoro Bacani Jr., “running priest” Robert Reyes, Divine Word Missionaries priest Flaviano Villanueva, Jesuit priest Albert Alejo, and former Education Secretary Armin Luistro.
San Fernando Archbishop Emeritus Paciano Aniceto also concelebrated the Mass.
From among those charged, only David came here to celebrate the Mass. /kga