Embattled Bishop Pablo Virgilio ‘Ambo’ David fights back at Duterte

VOCAL AGAINST KILLINGS. Diocese of Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David officiated a mass for the dead at the Old Chapel of the La Loma Catholic Cemetery on All Souls’ Day, November 2, 2018. File photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler


David and Goliath


By Ted Alcuitas

After accusing  the bishop as someone who stole church money in November 18, 2018, Duterte called the bishop a son of a “whore” in a speech on April 2, 2019.

This time Bishop Ambo fired back.

“Our family does not expect anyone in government to give her a recognition for her immense contribution in nation-building. But we do not expect anyone either, to insult her memory and call her a whore. SHE DOES NOT DESERVE IT,” wrote an obviously angry  Bishop in his Facebook page:

Pablo Virgilio David


6 hrs, April 3, 2019


She is the woman the President of our country called a whore in his speech yesterday. He called me a son of a whore for allegedly attacking him from the Church pulpit—which I have never ever done. The pulpit is never for that purpose. Unless, of course, he thinks that calling for an end to violence and extrajudicial killing in my diocese is tantamount to attacking him. He called my mother a whore on the occasion of the launching of the candidacy of Vice Mayor Jeannie Sandoval, who was shown on camera laughing along with the crowd.

For the sake of my mother whom the president insulted in his speech yesterday, let me proceed to tell you a little about Bienvenida Siongco David.

She survived the Japanese occupation and married my father at the age of 23, before the war ended. Although she was consistently at the top of her class from grade school to college, she was not able to finish a degree herself because of the war. Instead of going back to school after the war, she did everything she could to make sure my father would finish his law degree and be able to practice his legal profession.

Because my father stubbornly resisted corruption in his work—first as a provincial prosecutor of San Fernando, Pampanga and later as assistant city prosecutor of Manila, my mother had to do all she could to make both ends meet, given my father’s meager salary as a public servant. (Until the day he died, my father was unable to afford to buy himself a car. He did not mind taking public transportation.)

At home, my mother augmented the education that we were getting from public schools by tutoring us herself in between the endless house chores. She did all she could, to make sure that, even after she was widowed at age of 58, she would be able to get all thirteen of us to finish college and to practice our professions decently as productive citizens of this country. She succeeded in raising one sociologist, one architect/urban planner, two lawyers, one civil engineer, one real estate broker, one banker, one medical technologist, one critical care nurse, one bishop, one nutritionist, one dentist, and one economist. Her efforts did not end up in vain; not a single one of her children became a liability to the country.

She was given the “Gintong Ina” award in the late 80’s. She passed away as the millennium came to a close in December 2000.

Our family does not expect anyone in government to give her a recognition for her immense contribution in nation-building. But we do not expect anyone either, to insult her memory and call her a whore. SHE DOES NOT DESERVE IT.”

This development follows Duterte’s call to “kill the bishops” in December 5, 2018 because they “are not doing anything but criticize me”. 

On February 19, 2019, Bishop David received death threats and had to cancel his appearance at De La Salle University in Manila to receive a human rights award together with Rappler’s Maria Reesa, another Duterte critic. 

Instead, his brother, sociologist and Inquirer columnist Randy David received the award for him.

In a piece reluctantly written shortly after his brother was accused of stealing, Randy David said:

“But, isn’t fear the greatest problem we face in a despotic regime? So complex is fear as an emotion that people find a thousand and one ways to redescribe and rationalize it even as they meekly succumb to it. Yet, to overcome it, they often only need to witness the power of one example,” 

Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/117859/when-the-president-tells-a-lie#ixzz5kFAazesn 

Is Duterte on a rampage now? 

After threatening priests and killing suspected drug addicts ( over 20,000 by some counts) he unleashed his wrath on poor farmers suspected as Communists in Canlaon, Negros Oriental, killing 14 of them on March 30, 2019, just five days ago.

This recent massacre brought to 140 farmers killed under Duterte, 40 of them from Negros alone, according to reports.

He started with drug addicts.

He’s after priests and now farmers.

Who’s next in Duterte’s dirty war?

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