About-face: Duterte now says ‘Don’t kill bishops, priests’
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is now warning the public not to kill bishops and priests.
This is a complete turnaround from his remarks in December 2018 and in January urging bystanders to kill bishops or steal from them.
In his speech during the 1st national assembly of the Liga ng mga Barangay sa Pilipinas in Pasay City, Duterte revealed a text message from Manila Archbishop Luis Cardinal Tagle saying that Bishop David and other priests have received death threats from someone claiming to be part of the first family.
“Ang sagot ko ganito, ‘yang aming away ko sa Katoliko amin lang yan personal. Kayong mga adik, ‘wag ninyong totohanin ‘yong pukpokin yung bishop at kardinal, hindi sila kasali sa political ruckus,” he said.
(What I can say about that is this: my quarrel with the Catholic church is personal. You, who are drug addicts, don’t harm bishops and cardinals because they are not involved in the political ruckus.)
Duterte said his attacks against the clergy were just his response to the criticisms hurled against him by the church,
“Ako I was just responding, sinagot ko lang pari na mamatay na kayo. Pero wag niyo talaga patayin mga obispo, at pari. It is not allowed. Pag ginawa mo ‘yan, ako mismo kalaban mo, kasi ginawa mo yan para siraan ako. Ano makuha ko, bakit ko patayin ang pari? he added.
(I was just responding [to their criticisms] so I wished death for the priests. But don’t ever do that to bishops or priests. It is not allowed. If you do that, I will be your enemy. You will only do that because you want to put me in a bad light. Why would I even want to kill a priest?)
The Church has earned the ire of Duterte for being critical to his war on drugs and his brutal anti-criminality campaign. /ee
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.