WHAT WENT BEFORE: ‘Your bishops, kill them’
In a speech in Malacañang last December, President Rodrigo Duterte said the people should kill bishops because all they did was criticize him on his brutal war on drugs.
“Your bishops, kill them. Those stupid people are useless. All they do is criticize,” said the President, who has been quarreling with Church leaders since the 2016 presidential campaign.
Malacañang played down the President’s statement, saying it was a “hyperbole” intended for “dramatic effect.”
The President lashed out at the bishops again in January this year during the groundbreaking ceremony for a public school in Bulakan, Bulacan province, denouncing them as “sons of bitches” and telling street bums to rob and kill them.
“Hey, you bums there when your bishop passes by, rob him. He has lots of money — the son of a bitch. Kill him!” he said.
Catholic bishops later lashed back at the President for urging the people to kill prelates, with one bishop calling him “sick and a megalomaniac.”
“This is worrisome coming from a psychotic mind,” said Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes.
Religious groups have expressed fears that the President’s attacks on the Catholic Church may encourage his supporters to commit acts of violence directed at priests.
Since December 2017, at least three Catholic priests have been killed in separate attacks across the country.
The most recent victim was Richmond Nilo, who was killed by still unidentified gunmen in June last year as he was preparing for a church service in Nueva Ecija province. —Inquirer Research
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