Sueno met with 2 bishops to explain Duterte’s thinking
Interior Secretary Ismael “Mike” Sueno maintained that he did not hold a grudge against President Rodrigo Duterte for hastily dismissing him from office without due process.
In his farewell address to the employees of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday, Sueno even recalled how he worked hard to campaign for Duterte, a fellow Mindanaoan.
“My passion is to have a Mindanaoan president because only a Mindanaoan can solve Mindanao’s problem,” he said. “That’s why I really worked hard for him to win.”
Sueno said he recently met with Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), and Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo – both of who have been critical of Duterte and his brutal war on drugs.
“I talked to them,” Sueno said. “I wanted them to understand the President, kung ano ang thinking niya (what his thinking is).”
Although he admitted that he was hurt whenever Duterte would let out harsh remarks against the Catholic Church, Sueno said he tried to convince Church leaders to accept Duterte and his ways.
The outgoing secretary said he told the bishops that they should be “the first to understand and be compassionate” to the President.
“Ako I get hurt kung inaatake ng Presidente ang Simbahang Katoliko, mga obispo, lalo na ‘yung sa Santo Papa. Anong kinalaman niya dito? I was really hurt,” Sueno said.
(“I get hurt whenever the President attacks the Catholic Church, bishops, especially the Holy Pope. What does he have do with us? I was really hurt.“)
“But I know it was a wake-up call for the Church,” he added. “I tried to convince them; ‘Let’s accept him. Talagang strong-willed siya to eliminate corruption in the government and drugs and criminality.”
Duterte dismissed Sueno after three DILG undersecretaries accused him of corruption. Malacañang cited “loss of trust and confidence” for Sueno’s removal from office. /atm
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.