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In counter-affidavit, Archbishop Villegas admits meeting Bikoy but denies being part of 'oust-Duterte plot'.

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas has denied being part of a plan to oust President Duterte but admits meeting Peter Joemel 'Bikoy' Advincula briefly once.

In his counter-affidavit submitted to the Department of Justice (DOJ), Villegas said while he was at the Jesuit Residence in Ateneo, Advincula approached him and asked if they could talk.

He said Advincula talked about his hardships that he was moved and he gave his personal rosary blessed by Pope Francis and he blessed him.

Contrary to Advincula's claim that his meeting with Villegas was on Dec. 12, 2018, the Archbishop said he encountered Advincula once on April 24.

The Archbishop said that 'at no point did we discuss any plan to overthrow President Duterte, much less libel him or any person close to him.'

He also clarified that the meeting was brief, adding that it was part of his priestly ministry to give solace to those who are suffering. 'We do not turn away anyone who approaches us seeking our blessing.'

'We welcome everyone, and try to lead them back to the path where they may find peace for their troubled souls,' he said.

Advincula, in his sworn statement, said the Archbishop was part of the 'Shadow Group' of 'Project Sodoma' that is tasked to providing financial assistance, logistics, security and accommodations.

The Dec. 12, 2018 meeting, according to Advincula, was with a certain Jonell, Father Albert Alejo where they allegedly discussed certain details of the 'Ang Totoong Narcolist' videos.

But Villegas said on that date, he was at the Parish Church of Our Lady of the Rosary in Orani, Bataan where he was the homilist in a Thanksgiving Mass. He said the Mass was attended by around 700 people. He said he was at the church from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and then returned to the Archbishop's House in Dagupan City. Included in his counter-affidavit is a sworn statement of Fr. Jersey Prepose who invited Villegas to serve as homilist in the Mass.

He added that apart from mentioning his name, Advincula failed to give other details of his alleged participation in the so-called 'Project Sodoma.'

Villegas sought the dismissal of the sedition case against him./ac

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Aug 15, 2019
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