After cries of hypocrisy on social media, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has accused GMA News Online of misrepresenting the institution for keeping mum on the alleged rape case against a priest in the Diocese of Butuan.
Although the GMA News Online article was released in 2011, renewed interest in the case sparked after netizens reacted to CBCP President Archbishop Socrates Villegas's attack on Duterte.
He called the public not to vote for Duterte amidst the rape joke controversy, which prompted some of the mayor's supporters to accuse CBCP of double standards after being silent in the sin of its own member.
In 2011, GMA News Online published a story on CBCP's silence with regards to Fr. Raul Cabonce, a priest in Butuan accused of raping an 18-year-old girl who worked as a domestic worker at the convent.
“Since it was brought to court already, the most prudent thing to do is to wait for the decision of the court. The CBCP as a Church body would have to respect the forum of the civil court which is a State body," CBCP secretary general Msgr. Juanito Figura said according to the report.
Four years after, Villegas called the article "misleading" and "disceptive," in an effort to rebut the claim of Duterte supporters who called
“Contrary to the misleading if not deceptive post of GMA News Online, the CBCP is not sealing its lips on the accusations of rape against a priest in the Diocese of Butuan. There is a newly promulgated set of guidelines in place that is being followed,” Philippine Star reported him saying.
GMA News Online issued a statement that clarified the context of the issue in 2011, mentioning the links within the article in question that, if clicked, would show the reader the development of the story from the filing of charges to the accused priest's denial of said charges.
"We encourage netizens, especially those on social media, to go beyond just reading and sharing headlines, but to click on the articles to get the full context of stories that are being shared on their newsfeeds," the company said.