2 priests post bail after warrant for their arrest

2 priests post bail after warrant for their arrest

Fr. Albert Alejo, Fr. Robert Reyes and Fr. Flavie Villanueva are prayed over by nuns and lay leaders amid death threats they are receiving from unknown people, March 11, 2019 SCREENSHOT FROM THE VIDEO OF FR. BONG SARABIA, CM

By CBCP News

February 14, 2020

Manila, Philippines

Two Catholic priests posted bail Friday after a warrant of arrest was issued against them by a Quezon City court for alleged plot to destabilize the Dutere administration.

The Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 138 issued an arrest warrant for Fr. Albert Alejo, Fr. Flavie Villanueva and nine others over a supposed conspiracy to commit sedition.

Warrants for the two missionaries were recalled after each of them posted the P10,000 cash bond.

The Department of Justice has earlier decided to indict the two priests for sedition in connection with an online video linking Duterte and his family to the illegal drug trade.

Among those also charged include former senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

The priests denied involvement in the supposed acts to discredit Duterte, saying the charges were meant to “harass” government critics.

“It’s pure harassment and meant to send a chilling message to the others (critics),” Alejo said.

Other respondents, including Archbishop Socrates Villegas, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, Bishop Honesto Onctioco, Bishop Teodoro Bacani, and Fr. Robert Reyes were cleared of the charges.

Last December, an 80-year-old nun also evaded arrest after posting bail on a perjury case filed by national security adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr.

Sr. Elenita Belardo, RGS, was among those charged by Esperon on the legality of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), which the nun formerly headed.

The RMP, an organization of men and women religious, has been under government scrutiny, accusing them of being a front of communist rebels.

The organization of men and women religious said the case is “a reprisal to stop us from speaking about widespread human rights violations” in the country.