In Good Friday homily, CBCP president David takes aim at red-tagging, disinformation

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
In Good Friday homily, CBCP president David takes aim at red-tagging, disinformation
Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines president and Kalookan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David delivers his homily during a Good Friday service in his diocese on April 15, 2022.
Philstar.com screenshot

MANILA, Philippines — The head of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines criticized red-tagging and disinformation in his homily during a Good Friday service in his diocese.

Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, who also heads the Diocese of Kalookan, said Jesus Christ was a victim of red-tagging as he was accused of being a subversive who wanted to bring down the Roman Empire that was ruling Judea at the time.

“Porque’t organizer daw siya ng mga poor fishermen sa Galilea. Naglalagi daw siya sa mga liblib na lugar, eh naroon din ang mga zealots na rebelde. Madalas daw siya makita sa mga disyerto’t bundok. At take note, related siya sa isang kilalang aktibistang propeta na ang pangalan ay John the Baptist, na kapag nagsalita’y maaanghang din ang salita. Ayun, subersibo daw,” David said.

(Just because he’s an organizer of poor fishermen in Galilee. He was said to have stayed in secluded places where the zealots and rebels were. He was said to have been seen in the deserts and mountains. And take note, he is related to a known activist prophet named John the Baptist who is known for his sharp criticisms. Because of these, he was called a subversive.)

David called red-tagging “one of the oldest strategies of corrupt politicians” and acknowledged that it is in vogue today, citing the case of community doctor Maria Natividad Castro, who was arrested on kidnapping and serious illegal detention charges which were later on dismissed. 

Police claimed that Castro is a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines’ central committee and head of its national health bureau based in Barangay Libertad in Butuan City.

“Porque’t pinili niya na maglingkod, magserbisyo sa mga dukha, sa mga liblib na baryo na walang doktor, natawag tuloy siyang komunista. Sabi ng isang madre, ‘Bakit ba ganyan? Porque ba nagse-serve sa mga dukha, komunista kaagad? Hindi ba pwede Kristiyano muna?’” David said.

(Just because she chose to serve the poor in the remote barrios where there are no doctors, she was called a communist. One nun said, “Why is it like that? Just because they serve the poor, they’re immediately communists? Can’t they just be Christian?”)

David — an outspoken critic of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, especially of his brutal campaign against illegal drugs — has criticized red-tagging before, saying it brought back memories of former President Ferdinand Marcos’ decades-long martial rule.

The Kalookan bishop also took aim at disinformation, which he said was the reason why a death sentence was handed to Jesus.

Quoting Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, David said a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth and lamented at how quick disinformation spreads online.

“Mas lalong nagiging totoo ito ngayong panahon ng social media. ‘Di nga ba? Mas mabilis na mag-viral ang fake news kaysa sa totoo,” he said.

(This is more true in the age of social media. Is it not? Fake news becomes viral quicker than the truth.)

Still, David called on Christians to be “disciples of truth” and for them not to be blinded by “30 pieces of silver,” in reference to the reward Judas Iscariot received for turning Jesus over to the Romans.

“Mayroong napapako sa krus kapag nagpasilaw tayo sa 30 pirasong pilak,” he said.

(Someone gets crucified if we are blinded by 30 pieces of silver.)

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