Bishop to Palace: Name church members with communist links

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Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 4) — A Catholic bishop on Tuesday challenged Malacañang to name church leaders who allegedly work with communist rebels to oust President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a press release, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo responded to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque's claims that ties between the Church and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP-NPA) have been established.

"He should name names. (Otherwise) He is just spreading rumors. That is not responsible reporting. This one way of spreading false news," Pabillo said.

Roque on Tuesday said that with the communist insurgency in the Philippines lasting for decades, the probability of some clergy members working alongside the rebels is high. He then explained he was just warning of a larger communist influence.

But Pabillo said it only shows the insecurity of the Duterte administration.

"That only shows how insecure they are. They are so blinded by their fears and their bias that they cannot see their mistakes. They deflect on others their inefficiencies," he explained.

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines also denied the existence of a Duterte ouster plot.

"It is just a fabrication that came out of somewhere. It cannot come from the church. I can assure you of that," said Bishop Rey Evangelista of Imus, head of CBCP's public affairs body.

Roque is part of the four-man delegation that is holding a dialogue with church leaders after Duterte's "stupid God" comment caught the ire of religious groups.