By Rommel F. Lopez

Council of the Laity of the Philippines president Julieta Wasan and Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, chairman of the CBCP Commission on the Laity, during a press conference in Manila. FILE PHOTO

The national association of Catholic laity condemned the charges of sedition filed by the government against some Catholic bishops and priests saying these “will never prosper”.

“The recent allegations hurled towards our bishops and other priests and individuals who have always stood for truth, justice and peace, and the purposes behind such attempts will never prosper!  Truth, Justice and Peace will,” said Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas (Council of the Laity of the Philippines, or Laiko) president Dr. Ma. Julieta F. Wasan.

The statement comes after charges of sedition were filed by the Philippine National Police – Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) in the Department of Justice against a group of Catholic bishops, priests and other individuals.

The charges stem from the testimony of ex-convict, Peter Joemel Advincula, who said he was made to pose as the hooded whistleblower “Bikoy” in “The True Narcolist” video series that linked President Rodrigo Duterte and his family to illegal drugs.

Named in the complaint were Archbishop Socrates Villegas of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of the Diocese of Kalookan, (whom the PNP-CIDG wrongly called ‘archbishop’), Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of the Diocese of Cubao and Bishop Teodoro Bacani Jr., retired Bishop of the Diocese of Novaliches.  Named with the bishops in the complaint are Jesuit priest Fr. Albert Alejo, ‘running’ priest Fr. Robert Reyes and La Salle brother and former education secretary Armin Luistro.

Wasan said that they while they will allow “the wheels of justice to turn and the light of truth to shine,” Laiko, together with other lay organizations in the different lay organizations in the different diocese in the country, will “stand with our bishops for truth, justice and peace.”

Laiko is a public association of the faithful erected by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in order to “develop the consultation and collaboration of the lay faithful”. It is composed of all Catholic lay organizations in the country. Their spiritual director is Manila auxiliary bishop Broderick Pabillo who is also a columnist of

Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president and Davao archbishop Romulo Valles also came out with a statement against the charges saying he cannot bring himself “to believe that these bishops were involved in seditious activities.” David is the CBCP vice president.