Duterte tirades vs bishops not meant to gag Church – Palace
President Rodrigo Duterte is not gagging the Catholic Church despite his series of tirades against some bishops and priests for allegedly committing corruption and engaging in illicit affairs, a Palace official said.
“He’s not trying to silence them. He’s just trying to say, as far as we can see, [let’s] have a more collegial [relationship]. Mag-usap tayo parang pantay-pantay (Let’s talk frankly),” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella told reporters in a press briefing on Thursday.
Abella said Duterte welcomes criticisms done in cordial manner.
“While the government is open to criticism. I think it would [be appropriate] if it were not adversarial coming from a moral high horse, you know,” he said.
“Hindi tayo magkalaban (We’re not enemies). We can be critical of one another, hindi tayo magkalaban (we’re not enemies). Iisa ‘yung bayan (We only have one nation). So we’re both interested in doing these things but we cannot do this from an adversarial position,” he added.
The President has attacked the Catholic Church in his recent public speeches.
Abella said the chief executive’s recent bashing of the Catholic Church was prompted by the remarks of Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani, who denounced the administration’s war on drugs, calling it as “bringer of death.”
The Palace official said Duterte was angered by the “holier than you” attitude of the Catholic Church.
“Hey, we’re all sinners here and we can all cooperate in the work but not from a place where somebody else is saying, ‘I’m better than you, I’m holier than you.’ He would like more collegiality between institutions,” he said.
Abella earlier suggested that religious leaders and Duterte had a dialogue to settle their conflicting views on the President’s brutal war on drugs./ac