Catholics in a northern Philippines archdiocese marched in support of Church leaders accused of conspiring to overthrow President Rodrigo Duterte.
About 3,000 church workers, students and parishioners from the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan carried placards with messages expressing support for Archbishop Socrates Villegas and other accused Church leaders during a prayerful demonstration on 31st July, ucanews.com reported.
The country’s Justice Department is set to open a preliminary investigation next week into sedition and cyber libel charges against the leaders, which other than Archbishop Villegas include the Bishop of Cubao, Honesto Ongtioco; the Bishop of Kalookan, Pablo Virgilio David; and the retired Bishop of Novaliches, Teodoro Bacani Jr.
Others facing the same charges are Divine Word Fr Flaviano Villanueva, Jesuit Fr Albert Alejo, Fr Robert Reyes, and Lasallian Br Armin Luistro.
At least 36 other people also were charged for allegedly orchestrating a series of online videos alleging that Duterte and his family members were involved in the illegal drug trade.
The bishops’ conference has called the allegations “beyond belief.”
Picture: The Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan, Philippines, Socrates Villegas, is pictured in an archive photo, dated 7th July 2014. The archbishop and several other Church leaders have been charged with sedition and cyber libel for their criticism of the Philippine government. (CNS photo/Simone Orendain).