Beyond expletives, Duterte ‘a man of the poor’ – Ateneo de Davao president
DAVAO CITY – The president of a Jesuit-run university here has said that the outburst of presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte against the Roman Catholic Church was “unfortunate.”
A supporter of Duterte, Ateneo de Davao University President Fr. Joel S. Tabora S.J. said that beyond the expletives that Duterte uttered against the Church, he has shown the image of a leader partial to the needs of the marginalized.
“I think beyond the colorful words we get from Mayor Digong and his [expletive-filled] statements…, I think Digong has shown himself to be a man of the poor. I think that was what the people admired on him so greatly,” Tabora said in a press conference after a forum on Wednesday.
He said that Duterte’s tirades may be interpreted to the extent that the incoming president is letting the Church reflect if it has fallen short on helping the poor.
“It’s unfortunate that the language is such that a rift may seem to be in the offing. But I think that the position that Mr. Duterte is taking can be interpreted to be powerful prophetic position to try to help the Church [to] reflect on its own ability to be the Church of the poor it has for many years proclaimed itself to be,” he said.
Tabora advised Duterte to extend an olive branch to the Church, reminding him of his statement after the polls that it is a time for healing.
“I think it would be good if we might be guided by the spirit he mentioned soon after the elections that now is the time for healing. And that may include people in the CBCP who have made statements on this and that during the elections,” he added.
In several occasions, Duterte hit the dominant Roman Catholic Church for being “the most hypocritical institution.”
In a recent press conference here, he slammed the Church for not being able to help the people as he pushed for the implementation of artificial birth control methods for families with multiple children.
“Buti sana kung magbigay ang Katoliko ng honorarium (to families with multiple children). Sabi ko nga, kung hindi makatulong ang Simbahan, wag na kayo makinig diyan,. Puro kabulastugan lang lahat ‘yan,” Duterte said on Monday, May 23.
The septuagenarian president, who said that he is now a non-member of the Catholic Church, also hit the bishops who allegedly launched a negative campaign against him.
“Napaka-bobo naman kasi itong Katoliko. Tapos ngayon, nagsabi pa, hindi daw sila nagkampanya. (Ano) ‘yung tatlong bishop na nagsalita against me?” said Duterte.
The Ateneo de Davao president also cautioned Duterte against becoming a monster if he allows himself to be absorbed in hubris and excess.
“Once you feel you do not need law and you have so much followers, that power becomes very dangerous,” Tabora said of Duterte.
Duterte is set to be the Philippines’ 16th president and the first to hail from Mindanao.
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