Duterte’s call to ‘kill bishops’ hit: It’s from ‘a psychotic mind’
Catholic bishops on Thursday lashed back at President Rodrigo Duterte for urging the people to kill what he called “stupid” and “useless” prelates.
“This is worrisome coming from a psychotic mind. He is sick and a megalomaniac,” said Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes.
Speaking in Malacañang on Wednesday night, Mr. Duterte, who has been quarreling with Church leaders since the 2016 presidential campaign, lashed out at the bishops for criticizing his brutal war on drugs.
“Your bishops, kill them. Those stupid people are useless. All they do is criticize,” Mr. Duterte said.
Malacañang on Thursday sought to stave off controversy.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Mr. Duterte’s statement about killing bishops was just a “hyperbole” intended for “dramatic effect.”
“We should be getting used to this President,” Panelo said. “He actually means stop criticizing and do some good for this country. Help us,” he added.
Bastes said Mr. Duterte’s remarks should not be taken lightly.
“His advisers must already give him advice never to utter such kinds of statement. He is really a murderous madman. No Filipino should take his statements lightly from this time on,” Bastes said.
‘Love your enemies’
Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David responded to Mr. Duterte’s latest attack on the clergy by posting biblical verses on Facebook.
One verse he posted was Luke 6:27-28: “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”
“We have already faced quite a lot of persecutions in the past 2,000 years of Church history. We always respond the way Jesus would,” David said.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said Mr. Duterte’s remarks made him less of a leader.
“Any leader who asks the others to be killed, not even bishops, is no leader at all. He is instigating people to go against the law. Is this not a work of a destabilizer against the social order?” Pabillo said.
Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos said the President’s statement cost him his moral authority.
“This is a very heartless statement, very harmful to all. Not only attacking the Church but dividing our country and showing that there is only hatred in his heart. His statement disgraced himself and disappointed all God-fearing citizens of our country,” Santos said.
In his latest attack on the Church, Mr. Duterte also said 90 percent of priests were homosexuals “[s]o do not postulate on my morality.”
Activist priest Robert Reyes responded on Thursday, saying Mr. Duterte should not be judgmental and arrogant.
“What is his point, that he is not gay and therefore better and more blessed?” Reyes said by phone.
He said Mr. Duterte was destroying not only himself but also the presidency.
“But at the moment, the presidency is gone. We just have noisy clanging cymbals in Malacañang,” Reyes said. — WITH REPORTS FROM CATHERINE GONZALES, NESTOR CORRALES AND DELFIN T. MALLARI JR.
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