Paolo Duterte tagged 3 bishops as destabilizers, but one is non-existent

December 10, 2018 - 1:44 PM
Paolo Duterte during a Senate hearing
File photo of former Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte at the Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on the smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of shabu from China. (The STAR/Mong Pintolo)

A priest slammed former Davao Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte’s list of supposed destabilizers that included three bishops and noted that they are already retired, deceased and non-existent, respectively.

Father David Reyes of the St. Joseph Patriarch Parish at San Pedro, Laguna accused the presidential son of being “high” on fentanyl, the drug being taken by the latter’s father, and said that the involvement of the bishops couldn’t be possible.

The younger Duterte claimed that Bishops Leo Drona, Julio Labayen and Arturo Santos are part of the “Oust Duterte Movement” that purportedly aims to remove his father from the highest seat of the office.

Fr. Reyes in a Facebook post revealed the reasons why the three bishops couldn’t be involved and said that the former vice mayor is “full of lies” or “nuknukan ng kasinungalingan” for claiming such things.

Father David Reyes' Facebook post
A screenshot of Father David Reyes’ Facebook status that debunks part of former Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte’s list of alleged destabilizers.

The crucified ones 

Bishop Leo Drona

Bishop Leo Drona is the Bishop Emeritus of San Pablo, Laguna who was reported to have retired from his post earlier than usual on January 2013 for health reasons.

He was 72-years-old when he left his post but bishops are supposed to be retired by the age of 75.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in a news article revealed that Drona had undergone coronary angioplasty, a medical procedure that opens clogged heart arteries, around the year before he announced his retirement.

He was also discovered to have been suffering from an eye ailment that greatly affected his vision.

Fr. Reyes wrote in his post:

“Si Bishop Leo Drona (our former bishop) is already retired, mahina at naka-wheel chair na, at malabo na ang isang mata, hindi na nakakakita (nang) maayos ‘yung isa.”

Currently, Drona is residing in the Clergy Retirement House located near Saint Peter College Seminary in Brgy. Concepcion at San Pablo City, Laguna.

Bishop Julio Labayen 

Bishop Julio Labayen was the Bishop Emeritus of the Prelature of Infanta, Quezon who died on April 2016 at 90-years-old.

He held the position for 37 years and was considered the last surviving bishop that time who participated in the Second Vatican Council.

Labayen also took part in actively opposing the Marcos regime through the group “Magnificent Seven.” It was an anti-Martial Law group composed of Catholic bishops who denounced the late President Ferdinand Marcos’ human rights abuses when they wrote him an open letter.

Luis Jalandoni, the former head of the head of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, attested to Labayen’s role as a human rights defender during the Martial Law years.

“Bishop Labayen helped so many people and human rights activists. During his time, the Church became a sanctuary for people who were strongly opposing the violations of the Marcos regime,” he shared.

The Bishop Emeritus also created a magazine that braved heavy media censorship during the regime’s oppression on the particular sector. Up to this day, the publication is still active and considers itself the “Asian Magazine for Human Transformation.”

The international community also recognizes Labayen as “one of the architects of the role the Church (had) played in political issues and social transformation.”

He also served as the chair of CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action-Justice and Peace for 16 years.

Bishop ‘Arturo Santos’ 

Based on CBCP’s list of bishops in the Philippines, there is no Bishop Arturo Santos in service. This was reiterated by Fr. Reyes in his Facebook post, where he wrote:

“Walang Bishop Arturo Santos sa 2000-year history ng Simbahang Katolika. Ewan ko lang kung obispo ito ng kulto.”

The closest one on record is Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon.

Bastes previously condemned the cases of extrajudicial killings under Duterte’s administration and lauded the efforts of the International Criminal Court tasked to investigate the president’s “War on Drugs” campaign.

“This is a very good step for the ICC to take serious action against the continuous and seemingly condoned violation of human rights in the Philippines,” he said before.