By Christina Hermoso
A Church leader has called on fellow churchmen to organize regular prayer assemblies in all parishes in support of the bishops and priests who were accused of sedition and cyber libel by the Philippine National Police.
Apostolic Vicariate of Bontoc-Lagawe Bishop Valentin Dimoc, incoming chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Indigenous Peoples, called on all archdioceses, dioceses, apostolic vicariates, and prelatures around the country “to organize regular prayer assemblies in parishes and in Basic Ecclesiastical Communities or BECs.
These assemblies will culminate in a national solidarity prayer assembly. The prayer intention for these assemblies is enlightenment for those falsely accusing Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, Kalookan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco, Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani Jr., Father Albert Alejo, Father Robert Reyes, and Father Flaviano Villanueva of sedition and cyber libel,” Dimoc said over Church-run Radio Veritas.
Four bishops and three priests were accused of cyber libel and sedition, along with several opposition figures by the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG).
The charges stemmed from the series of online videos alleging that President Duterte and his family members were involved in the illegal drugs trade.
“Our prayer intention is for the enlightenment and repentance of the oppressors, and for the Spirit of prophetic courage and hope to be enkindled in the hearts of indifferent and cynical Catholics,” Dimoc said.
Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, CBCP president, earlier said that knowing the accused bishops, the charges against them “is for me beyond belief” and described the case as “distressing.”
“I am very saddened by this news and greatly disturbed by this development. I know these bishops quiet well,” Valles said.