Duterte denies slur on Pope: I was cursing gov’t incompetence
After drawing flak for cursing Pope Francis over the traffic congestion that his visit caused in January, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday issued an apology and clarified that the curse was not directed to the leader of the Roman Catholic Church but to the Philippine government’s incompetence.
“I can never curse my Pope. I was cursing at the incompetence of government. If it was taken by some in that light, I sincerely apologize. I will continue to curse so our suffering nation takes action,” Duterte was quoted as saying by his staunch supporter and former North Cotabato Mayor Manny Piñol.
During his proclamation as the presidential bet of the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) on Monday, the tough-talking mayor took a swipe at the Church and cursed the Pope in jest for the supposed inconvenience his visit brought to commuters and motorists.
“Sabi ko, ‘Bakit?’ Sabi sarado na [ang daan]. Sabi ko, ‘Sinong darating?’ Sabi si Pope. Gusto kong tawagan, ‘Pope, p— ka, umuwi ka na. ‘Wag ka nang bumisita dito,’” Duterte said.
Echoing Duterte, Piñol, who attended the proclamation, said the mayor’s use of the cuss word was “misunderstood” and not directed to Pope Francis, noting it was “merely an expression that comes almost naturally from Duterte’s mouth and peppers almost all of his public discourses.”
“Yesterday, he used it in jest to express his exasperation and disappointment over the inability of government to address Metro Manila’s traffic problem,” Piñol said in a Facebook post.
“Duterte, in spite of his human frailties and publicly admitted weaknesses, is a devout Catholic and I believe he would never show irreverence toward the prince of his Church, the Roman Catholic Church,” he added.
Insinuating it was only Duterte who could combat the proliferation of drugs, crime, and corruption, Piñol said a “flawed statement cannot override the desire of people for real change in this country.”
“At the end of the day, however, the whole country would still have to answer the question: Who could protect the country from the evils of crime, drugs and corruption? Who could bring this nation together in peace and provide jobs for people in the countryside?” he added. RC
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