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DOJ clears 4 bishops, 2 others of sedition charges; recommends cases filed vs. 2 priests

Six church officials, including four Catholic bishops were cleared by the Department of Justice (DOJ) of the charge of plotting to overthrow the government, according to a post on the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) website.

The bishops cleared of the charges are: Archbishop Socrates Villegas, Bishops Pablo Virgilio David, Honesto Ongtioco and Teodoro Bacani.

The others who were exonerated were running priest Fr. Robert Reyes and former Education secretary La Salle Bro. Armin Luistro.

The DOJ ruled that the bishops showed no intention of committing sedition and that the complaints filed by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group lack evidence.

The charges stemmed from a viral video accusing President Rodrigo Duterte and his family are allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade.

Also cleared were Vice President Leni Robredo, Senators Risa Hontiveros and Leila de Lima, former Senator Bam Aquino, members of the Otso Diretso senatorial slate, and lawyers.

The filing of charges, however, were recommended for 11 persons including two priests, namely: Fr. Albert Alejo and Fr. Flaviano Villanueva.

Alejo, the founder of the anti-corruption campaign called "Ehem!," and Villanueva, who manages The Arnold Janssen Kalinga Center that provides food and hygiene care to the poor in Tayuman, Manila, earlier denied the accusations raised against them. — BAP, GMA News