MANILA, Philippines -- Palace officials said they were dismayed by a Catholic bishop?s reported remark comparing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to a midget.
Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said he did not expect a ranking leader of the church, referring to Novaliches Bishop Teodoro Bacani, would resort to name-calling.
Bacani said mass at a rally at the University of Makati, which was attended by former president Joseph Estrada, on Thursday, a day ahead of the mammoth rally in Makati City to press for the ouster of Arroyo.
?Alam mo, natatawa lang ako. Hindi ko akalain na ang isang mataas na pinuno ng simbahan ay [You know, I can only laugh. I never imagined that a ranking leader of the church] can afford [to do] or would resort to that,? Ermita told reporters Friday.
?I cannot [practice] name-calling on anybody who [practices] name-calling. It is his [Bacani?s] own lookout,? he said.
Ermita said he would leave it to people to judge the bishop?s remark.
Deputy presidential spokesman Anthony Golez said it was ?very disheartening to hear?one of the respectable leaders of the Catholic church?stand on the pulpit and call a member of their flock insulting names which were never taught in catechism.?
Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said that, if Arroyo has detractors in the church, she also has her share of defenders from the religious who do not resort to name-calling to defend her.