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Palace: Duterte’s tirade not ‘anti-Catholic’

/ 01:35 PM January 20, 2017
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte elaborates on the enormity of the illegal drug problem plaguing the country in his speech during the oath-taking ceremony of newly-promoted Philippine National Police officials at the Rizal Hall of Malacañan Palace on January 19, 2017. KING RODRIGUEZ/Presidential Photo

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte elaborates on the enormity of the illegal drug problem plaguing the country in his speech during the oath-taking ceremony of newly-promoted Philippine National Police officials at the Rizal Hall of Malacañan Palace on January 19, 2017. KING RODRIGUEZ/Presidential Photo

President Rodrigo Duterte’s latest tirade against the Church should not be viewed as “anti-Catholic” as he is “open to listening to other opinions,” a Palace official said.

Duterte on Thursday again slammed the Catholic Church for speaking against his war on drugs, which resulted in the deaths of thousands of drug suspects.

“What is your moral ascendancy?” You are not helping. You just keep on talking,” the President said in a speech in Malacañang.

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READ: Duterte hits Church: You have no moral ascendancy

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella on Friday said Duterte’s tirades where triggered by the remarks of Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani, who denounced the government’s war on drugs, calling it as “bringer of death.”

BACKSTORY: Bishop Bacani: Drug killings worse than martial law

“We have to understand that he [Duterte] seems to be referring to the Catholic Church, but he is basically referring to the church as an institution na ang expected—he agreed, in fact, he said that faith-based actions actually are able to help the rehabilitation of addicts,” Abella said in an interview with radio dzMM.

“This is not policy but in a sense, (and) I’m giving my personal opinion, what the President is really expecting is not an adversarial approach. The President is quite open to listening to other opinions, pero ano po siguro (but maybe), what triggered him is the fact na it seemed to him perhaps the comment came from a moral high horse na pare-pareho lang naman tayong may mga pagkukulang (when all of us have our own shortcomings),” he added.

The Palace official said Duterte’s biting tirades should not be viewed as “anti-Catholic.”

“Basically po, I don’t think we should approach it so much na something anti-Catholic… We could actually be working on this all together. We become adversarial towards one another. I suppose that’s where the President seems to be really coming from,” he said.

Abella said other institutions seemed not to appreciate the accomplishment of the administration in its fight against illegal drugs.

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“The other institutions seem not to appreciate the fact that something is being done. For example, a million people have already surrendered and there’s a lot of work to do,” he said.

READ: First 6 months of ‘Tokhang’: 1M surrenderers, more than 2,000 dead

Despite the President’s attacks against the Catholic Church, Abella said he encouraged priests and bishops to have a dialogue with the President.

“If we could be more collegial and this is really the time that we could be all build together,” he said.

“I would encourage the good bishops to have a dialogue. Mag-usap tayo… Wala naman sigurong matigas na tinapay sa mainit na kape (Let’s talk, I think even the most stubborn people will be convinced by the warmest approach),” he added. IDL/rga

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TAGS: anti-Catholic, Catholic Church, Ernesto Abella, Rodrigo Duterte, war on drugs
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