Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference (CBCP) of the Philippines, expressed his disbelief over the sedition raps filed against some members of the Conference along with other opposition members by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG)
“I am very saddened by this news and am greatly disturbed by this development. I know these bishops quite well. I had worked closely with two of them: I functioned as the vice president of Archbishop (Socrates) Villegas when he was heading the CBCP, and Bishop (Pablo Virgilio) David is currently my vice president in the CBCP,” said Valles in the CBCP’s official statement signed July 19.
“That they are accused of sedition and other criminal complaints is for me beyond belief,” he added.
Last Thursday, the PNP-CIDG filed charges against Vice President Leni Robredo and 35 other individuals, including David (bishop of the Diocese of Kalookan), Villegas (archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan), Bishop Teodoro Bacani Jr. (retired bishop of the Diocese of Novaliches) and Honesto Ongtioco (bishop of the Diocese of Cubao).
Valles said that while the bishops have been critical of President Rodrigo Duterte, especially in his controversial war on drugs, the accusation of sedition is unbelievable for him.
“They may be perceived as very vocal and very critical in their pronouncements. But that they consciously worked promoting seditious activities and other related crimes, these honestly I cannot believe. These are individuals whose love for country and dedication for the welfare of our people I cannot doubt,” he said.
Valles emphasized that he “cannot bring myself to believe that these bishops were involved in seditious activities.”
He sees the involved bishops’ “sincerity, decency, respectfulness and love for our country and our people are beyond doubt.”
The CBCP president, however, said he keeps his respect and confidence in the people in the government who are involved in the process regarding the cases involving the Bishops.
“I pray to the Lord for them, that fairness and truth will guide them,” he said.
He also prays for the involved bishops to “remain calm and confident that in the end, they will be found innocent.”