Healing priest’s advice to Digong Duterte: Pray
LUCENA CITY—A priest made popular by stories about healing is offering to host a prayer session with Davao City Mayor Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte, who had cussed Pope Francis over traffic gridlock in Metro Manila during the Pope’s visit to the country in January.
Fr. Joey Faller, administrator of Kamay ni Hesus (KNH) shrine in Lucban town, said it would help if Duterte attends a communal prayer session at the shrine.
“Every candidate needs cleansing,” said Faller. “They need to be purified,” he said.
During his proclamation as the presidential candidate of Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban ng Bayan
(PDP-Laban) on Monday, Duterte delivered a speech laden with invectives that included one aimed at the Pope.
Recalling his encounter with horrific traffic in Metro Manila during the Pope’s visit in January, Duterte said he wished he could call Francis to tell him: “Pope, p—ina ka, umuwi ka na. Wag ka nang bumisita dito (Pope, you son of a….go home. Don’t come here).”
Faller said: “That shows his true color.”
The priest said it was lamentable for a presidential candidate to show such disrespect for the head of the Catholic Church.
Environmentalist priest Fr. Pete Montallana said he also felt sorry about Duterte’s cuss words.
“The Pope is God’s gift to us,” said Montallana.
The Franciscan priest said he, too, would pray for Duterte.
He said he believed Duterte has become attractive to people because of frustration at the Aquino administration.
But Montallana said he did see what Duterte had done in Davao City.
Faller said he is extending his invitation to all candidates. “I feel the need to pray for them,” said Faller.
The priest, however, said voters should not be deluded by candidates’ empty promises.
“We have had enough of ‘trapo’ in the country. It is high time to serve,” Faller said.
Faller described the vast KNH religious complex as a “sacred place for worship and spiritual cleansing.”
Inside the shrine is the 300-step “Stairway to Heaven” that leads to a 50-foot statue of the “Risen Christ” at the top of a hill. The concrete statue is touted to be the third tallest icon of Jesus in the world after that in Bolivia (70 feet) and that in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (150 feet).
In Negros Occidental province, Church leaders also expressed disappointment at Duterte’s cursing of the Pope.
“It was simply uncouth,” said Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra.
San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza said he stands behind the statement of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas that Duterte forgot that Francis is also a head of state.
“I find his statement insensitive to say the least,” said Alminaza.
JV Hinlo, PDP-Laban Western Visayas head, said Duterte was not cussing at the Pope but at the five-hour traffic caused by the inefficient handling of the government of the papal visit.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said he would like the electorate to decide whether what Duterte did is condemnable.
Palma said every human being deserves respect. Carla P. Gomez and Ador Mayol, Inquirer Visayas
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.