Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines and a known critic of the Duterte administration, said he was seeking answers as to why he was included among the 35 other opposition leaders accused of destabilizing the government.
Cesar Ramirez/File
‘Was it a mistake to make a stand?’
Eva Visperas (The Philippine Star) - August 11, 2019 - 12:00am

DAGUPAN CITY, Philippines — Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas has turned to social media to defend himself from accusations of sedition.

Villegas, former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines and a known critic of the Duterte administration, said he was seeking answers as to why he was included among the 35 other opposition leaders accused of destabilizing the government.

“Out of the depths I cry to you O Lord…Was I wrong?” Villegas posted in his Facebook account.

He noted Duterte has repeatedly attacked the Church and the clergy to the extent of calling God “stupid.”

Villegas added Duterte, then a presidential candidate, did not spare Pope Francis by cursing him when he got caught in a traffic jam during the top Catholic leader’s visit to Manila.

He also noted his criticism of Duterte’s frequent lewd jokes about women.

He also pointed out that when he organized a prayer rally for the victims of extrajudicial killings, he was criticized for the effort.

“When I cried with angst with the thousands now orphaned by extrajudicial killings and asked that the killings stop, was I wrong to plead for mercy?” he said.

He sounded out that when he asked voters not to forget God when they vote, “was I wrong to caution them?”

“Lord, were you pleased to hear people being roused to kill us bishops? Was it wrong to stand up and ask a stop to the killing of priests, our sons? Lord, should I have just kept quiet in my distant safety? Should I have just stayed kneeling? Was it a mistake to make a stand?” Villegas said.

“Lord did you just want me to pray and leave all the rest to you? I was tempted to take the other side of the road when I saw the wounded man on my path, but I declined my safety and tried to help as a Samaritan. Was I wrong?” he added.

Villegas insisted he did only what he thought was God’s will.

Villegas and more than 30 vocal critics of the government led by Vice President Leni Robredo are accused of conspiring to oust the President.

The accusations stemmed from the supposed sworn statement of Peter Joemel Advincula who identified himself as “Bikoy” in the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos that linked Duterte, his family, and several supporters to the alleged drug trade in the country.

SEDITION SOCRATES VILLEGAS
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