June 7, 2019

After Statement on Bikoy: Caloocan Bishop David either a hypocrite or a liar?

Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David's statement denying complicity in the now-discredited Bikoy Videos show glaring inconsistencies, suggesting that the bishop is either a hypocrite or a liar... or is he something else?

Let's discuss.

In a statement dated 06 June 2019, Caloocan Bishop Fr. Virgilio David admitted that he met Peter Joemel "Bikoy" Advincula in early February of this year. David said Davao's Jesuit Fr. Albert Alejo, accompanied by Advincula, met with him briefly.

David wrote:
“I expected only him but he came accompanied by a man whom he did not even properly introduce to me. Since I could spare less than an hour and was rushing to another appointment at 9am, I met them only for a little while, over coffee."
David added:
"Perhaps conscious of the time constraint, Fr. Alejo told me very briefly that the man’s life was in danger, that he was being pursued by a drug syndicate he used to work with, and that he needed sanctuary. He was a chubby bespectacled young man; he struck me also as a glib-talker."
“Glib” means fluent but insincere.

David went on to explain that situations like those "are not new" to him, and that he the term "drug syndicate" raised a red flag. He then said he advised Alejo to "seek help from people who might be in a better position" to deal with Advincula's situation.

He said "it was not until months later" that David recognized the man in the videos as the Advincula that he met in February and went on to say:
"Perhaps if I had not been in such a rush, I would have followed my instincts and naïvely provided sanctuary to a SNAKE!"

A few things off about Bishop David’s statement

David said he felt insincerity on Advincula’s part so he didn’t take Alejo’s request seriously. But then, David also said the meeting was very brief, so is David saying that he can judge a person’s character in just a span of, say, a few minutes?

I doubt that a self-professed Man of God would judge people that quickly.

Moreover, Fr. Alejo is a very high-profile priest. He’s the same guy who helped Edgar Matobato and Arturo Lascañas, the witnesses presented during the Senate Hearings on the War against Drugs. David knows about Alejo, yet he dismissed Alejo’s request just like that?

Just how many times has Alejo approached David for help with a whistleblower?

There are two possibilities: [1] rarely and [2] a lot.

[1] Suppose Alejo rarely approaches David

Given Alejo’s very high profile and the rarity of Alejo’s requests, David could not simply dismiss Alejo’s actions as insignificant. Even if David considers Advincula as insincere, he must have at least inquired through Alejo or other sources about what’s going on. Surely, somebody of David’s education, experience, and stature must know how to deftly deal with such situations, especially if it could backfire on him, just like what’s happening right now.

[2] Suppose Alejo approaches David a lot

If Alejo made approaching David a habit every time Alejo finds an alleged whistleblower, then David must already have a pretty good idea about Alejo’s ability in vetting people. David is a staunch critic of President Duterte’s War on Drugs, so he must be familiar with Lascañas and Matobato, both of whom are generally believed to have enjoyed Alejo’s protection. 
Assuming that David believes finds Lascañas and Matobato credible (he never spoke against either), then what is the likelihood that David also found Advincula credible when Alejo introduced the latter? 
Now, even if David found Advincula’s story incredulous when they met in February, did Alejo’s credibility in David’s eyes account for nothing? Even if Advincula seemed insincere, why did David simply dismiss Advincula’s claims despite Alejo’s backing 
Surely, David must have at least exerted some effort in investigating the Alejo-Advincula situation, yet he himself said he didn't.
Both possibilities yield blatant contradictions, suggesting that David is lying.

Now, here’s the more interesting part

David himself said he found Advincula’s story incredulous, yet he did not speak about it when the Bikoy videos came out.

David in the same statement even wrote, “It was not until months later, when the man who had appeared as the hooded Bikoy on videos in the social media, removed his hoodie and identified himself as ‘Peter Joemel Advincula’, that I recognized the chubby bespectacled glib-talking young man I had briefly met on February 9, 2019.”

The first part of the “Ang Totoong Narco List” videos series came out during the first week of April 2019. David, given his tenacious opposition to Duterte’s Drug War, must have found about it on that same week.

Despite this, I never heard David speak about the video, despite his incessant tirades against the administration on the days that followed.

Let me illustrate:
05 April 2019: Ang Totoong Narco List Episodes 1 and 2 have been been published.
17 April 2019: In an apparent swipe against the government, David encouraged Catholics to “renounce evil” in the May 2019 elections 
19 April 2019: David attacked the administration’s senatorial slate as he asked Catholics if they’d vote for “Jesus or Barabbas” 
23 April 2019: David admonishes Catholics for allegedly blindly believing that Duterte’s Drug War is for Law and Order. 
23 April 2019: In a forum, David decried the supposed “age of disinformation”, a rebuke of the dominance pro-administration personalities in social media.
24 May 2019: Advincula flip-flops and implicates the political opposition instead.
I attempted to search for any online content dated 06 April 2019 (the day after the first two Bikoy videos were released) to 13 May 2019 (election day, or when Bikoy’s story was falling apart), online content where David directly referenced to the videos.

I also searched for any drug war-related statements from the Bishop after Advincula flip-flopped (24 May 2019) and BEFORE Advincula implicated him (01 June 2019), and I found none.
I found none.

Bishop knew Advincula was lying, he saw Advincula spread his lies for week, yet he said nothing about it, despite the bishop's uncanny interest in supposedly revealing the truth about President Duterte's Drug war.

Did David, through his recent statement, admit to being a hypocrite?

Bishop Pablo Virgilio David: a hypocrite or a liar?

Suffice it to say, despite Bishop’s David’ knowledge that Advincula was blatantly lying, he never bothered to call out the lies that he knew were spreading quickly.

With these said, it appears that the bishop didn’t mind the use of lies – of disinformation – to achieve a purpose. He didn’t mind that people used the same disinformation that he was whining about during the April forum where he was a speaker.

Despite his supposed advocacy for truthfulness, Bishop David allowed Advincula’s lies to spread like wildfire despite his full knowledge that he is in a prime position to stop it… or what if we just save some time analyzing his statement by saying that his denying his complicity in the Bikoy Videos is a lie in itself?

Given these, either Bishop David is a hypocrite or he’s just another barefaced liar like Advincula.

Bishop David, which of these two do you prefer? But if you prefer something else, please do let me know, because I really want to know. [ThinkingPinoy | RJ Nieto]

(For comments, suggestions, and reactions, please send an email to tp[at]thinkingpinoy.net)

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