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ICC Note: The President of the Philippines , Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, has accused six Roman Catholic bishops of involvement in a coup plot to unseat her. The bishops deny the allegations and are in need of support. The Arroyo government does not tolerate critics and the bishops have been outspoken about illegal practices in the government. Pray for the bishops, as it is common practice for the government to harass and/or kill those who oppose Arroyo.

Philippine government accuses bishops of fomenting coup

Spero News (7/31/06) – The bishops are fending off allegations that they were involved in a coup plot to unseat Arroyo in February.

Six Roman Catholic bishops who have been outspoken critics of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s government says the administration is playing “dirty tricks” after being accused of fomenting a conspiracy against the national leader.

The bishops spoke out against illegal gambling said to involve top officials, extra-judicial killings allegedly involving military and police agents, and some have filed impeachment complaints against Arroyo to eke out the truth behind accusations of vote-rigging in elections during 2004. Now they are fending off allegations that they were involved in a coup plot to unseat Arroyo in February.

“I believe that a group of dirty tricks people are behind this ploy,” said Bishop Teodoro Bacani Jr, one of the clerics named as having links to coup plotters, and who said the accusations were a “fictitious story”.

The six bishops led by the president of the Bishops Conference of the Philippines, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, all denied the allegations and have found supporters in the Ecumenical Bishops Forum, which groups Catholic, Protestant and evangelical bishops.

“What the Arroyo government is doing to the six bishops is a sign of its rotten and moribund state,” said the Bishops Forum in a 21 July statement signed by co-chair, the Rev. Alberto Ramento of the home grown Philippine Independent Church. The ecumenical forum described the allegations against the six bishops as harassment, and as an attempt to silence critics.

In testimony before the Philippines Senate in 2005, Archbishop Cruz had implicated the family of the president in illegal gambling payoffs. The Catholic Bishops Conference has also issued pastoral letters critical of the Arroyo government, denouncing the killings of social activists and journalists, and supporting various legal means to help unearth the truth behind allegations of vote-rigging during presidential elections in 2004. Bishop Tobias, for his part, admitted on national television that he gave shelter to renegade soldiers who came running to his residence in February, but he said it was Church practice to give sanctuary to those who sought it…[Go To Full Story]