Prelate: Elect PH leader ‘decent enough’ to face world
CEBU CITY — Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma advised Filipinos on Monday to elect a leader decent enough to face leaders of other nations.
“When we elect people in power, we expect them to serve, but at the same time they should also relate with other people in many parts of world,” he told reporters after presiding over a Mass and a diaconate ordination at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral.
He was asked to comment on the controversial remarks of Davao City Mayor and presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte about the 1989 gang rape of Australian missionary worker Jaqueline Hamill.
The archbishop expressed concern over how other countries would perceive the Philippines if news of Duterte’s remarks landed in the international news. “What if this kind of joke will spread to other people from different parts of the world? Can we feel at ease with that kind of person?” the 66-year-old prelate asked.
Palma, a former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said the electorate would now decide whether to vote for a person like Duterte.
“Are we happy with what he (Duterte) said? Do we agree with it? Some say it’s okay. Others say otherwise,” he said.
“The future of our country depends on the votes we make. The electorate should discern and decide. That is where the power of the ballots come,” he added.
On election day, Palma encouraged the faithful to pray for honest and clean elections and pray for fellow Filipinos in choosing the best leaders for the country.
A YouTube video has gone viral showing Duterte, in a campaign rally, recalling what he had thought and said when he saw the body of the raped and murdered Hamill in 1989. He said he saw how beautiful the missionary worker was and then joked about how the hostage-takers had raped her before he could.
“Naunahan pa ang mayor. Patayin lahat yan (They did it ahead of the mayor. Kill them all),” the mayor recalled saying during the 1989 hostage-taking inside the Davao Metrodiscom Headquarters.
Last Sunday, Duterte admitted he said those words not as a joke but in the heat of his anger about the heinous crime. SFM
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