MANILA -- MalacaAang on Wednesday fired back at an executive of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) who dared government to prove that it is not behind the alleged death threats sent to priests.
It is elementary in law that the one who alleges must prove, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
CBCP Executive Secretary Fr. Jerome Secillano earlier challenged government to conduct an investigation on the alleged threats amid President Rodrigo R. Duterte's harsh words against the Catholic Church.
Since the priests are the ones accusing the government or the President as being behind those death threats, it stands to reason that they have to prove their accusation, Panelo said.
Panelo urged Secillano to relay his concern to the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other law enforcement agencies.
The burden of proof lies on them. Our position is that they bring their concern officially to any law enforcement agency so that the latter may conduct an investigation, and at the same time secure their safety, he said.
On Monday, three more Catholic priests -- Fathers Albert Alejo, Fr. Robert Reyes, and Fr. Flavie Villanueva -- bared that they have received death threats in the form of text messages from anonymous sources.
This after Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David claimed last month that he has been receiving death threats.
Reyes, known as 'the running priest', attributed Duterte's tirades against the church to the alleged death threats.
However, Panelo said it was unfair to blame the President for these alleged threats since they could come from various sources, including critics of the Duterte administration, enemies of priests, or pranksters.
Duterte earlier admitted that although he had a personal tiff with the Catholic Church, he warned those who threatened to harm priests and bishops to spare them or face him.
He said he would not get anything from having clerics killed.
Source: Philippines News Agency