By Christina Hermoso
The Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan has called for the dismissal of the cyber libel and sedition charges made against Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas and the other churchmen.
In an official statement read by Lingayen, Dagupan Auxiliary Bishop Fidelis Layog, the archdiocese stressed that bishops and priests are advocates of truth and expressing their opinion on social issues is part of their rights as citizens of this country.
“We are certain that these advocates of truth only engage with other people to create a richer discourse in analyzing and understanding the situation of the country. They were merely exercising their constitutional right to freedom of expression and association,” part of the statement read.
The archdiocese is calling for the dismissal of charges made by the PNP-CIDG against Archbishop Socrates Villegas, Kalookan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco, Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani, Fr. Albert Alejo, Fr. Robert Reyes, and Fr. Flaviano Villanueva.
“It is our faith in true democracy that we stand together in the belief that the sedition charges filed against our beloved Archbishop Soc and the other advocates of truth are unfounded and untrue and we hereby petition its dismissal,” the archdiocese said.
Bishop Layog celebrated a mass recently with Bontoc Lagawe Bishop Valentin Dimoc at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist as an expression of support for Villegas.
“It is not enough to say that we are for truth. We must also say why it is wrong to lie and falsely accuse. It is not enough to speak of justice, but we must also question the source of injustice,” Layog said during the mass which was attended by thousands of supporters.