Bishop David slams Bikoy for lying, linking him to Trillanes

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David slammed Peter Joemel Advincula or Bikoy, the man who flip-flopped on allegations against President Rodrigo Duterte, for peddling lies and linking him to opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

Like David, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas also refuted Bikoy.

Villegas denied Bikoy's claim that he met with anti-Duterte plotters at Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City in the evening of December 12, 2018, as he was delivering a homily in Orani, Bataan, at that time.

Both Villegas and David, vice president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, have earned Duterte's ire for criticizing his bloody war on drugs. The two bishops and other priests have also received death threats under Duterte's watch.  

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, June 5, David called on the Philippine National Police (PNP) to prioritize investigating the spate of killings in the Philippines over listening to Bikoy.

"As bishop of Caloocan, I sincerely wish the PNP could give more time and effort at investigating the truth behind these killings than giving credence to the lies now being peddled by a certain Peter Advincula, alias 'Bikoy,'" said David.

"What I find most strange about the PNP's apparent seriousness in wanting to investigate the allegations of 'Bikoy' is that when it was people close to the president whom he was earlier implicating, they immediately called him a liar. Now that he has changed his story and is implicating practically all personalities in the opposition – insinuating that he had merely been used by them in a supposedly well-orchestrated plot to unseat the government – 'his truth' (according to the PNP director) needs to be investigated," the bishop said.

David made this statement after Advincula linked him and other Catholic bishops and priests, including Villegas, to an alleged plot to unseat Duterte. 

Advincula had appeared as an anonymous personality named Bikoy in a series of videos, called "Ang Totoong Narco List (The Real Narco List)," implicating Duterte's family members and close associates to the illegal drug trade. He later backtracked on his claims, saying these were "fake" and were part of a "script" by the opposition to oust Duterte. (READ: TIMELINE: The 'Bikoy' controversy

David said, "Lately, the man has also implicated so many other names, including those of Church leaders and religious personalities who may have made no other mistake than believing that the man's life was really in danger and that he needed sanctuary."

"Jesus was right in saying that he expected his disciples to be 'innocent as doves but clever as serpents.' Could some naive and well-meaning people in the Church have ended up being stung by a hungry serpent whom they had fed?"

David also noted that Advincula appeared in a press conference sponsored by the PNP on Monday, June 3, "claiming that he had attended a meeting with me and Senator Trillanes and a certain Jonel at my residence in Caloocan City."

"First of all, I wish to make it clear that I have never had the privilege of meeting with Senator Trillanes in person and I do not know the Jonel he was talking about," said David, saying his rebuttal of Bikoy was "to be continued."

David recently reiterated his critique of Duterte's anti-drug campaign, saying it is the "biggest lie" to say the drug war aims to stop the illegal drug trade. His tirades have agitated the President, who said he suspects the bishop is into drugs – a claim David immediately denied

Like David, Villegas denied Advincula's claim that he had met with anti-Duterte plotters in the evening of December 12, 2018. Advincula claimed the meeting took place at the Jesuit Residence in Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City.

"On the day and time, December 12, 2018, in the evening, that I allegedly met with some plotters to overthrow the government, I was in the parish church of Orani in Bataan to deliver the homily at the first Mass of a friend newly ordained priest. As a mortal being like the rest of us, I have no capacity to be in two places at the same time," said Villegas in a statement Thursday, June 6.

The archbishop also said he will never join "illegal or violent means for social change."

"I believe in the power of electing officials; that is why I have tried my very best, as a priest and as a Filipino, to morally guide the people entrusted to my pastoral care. I cannot and will never lend a hand to use illegal or violent means for social change. Such will weaken our democratic foundations. This is contrary to my Christian conscience," Villegas said. – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.

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