Palace takes issue with papal rosary
A rosary has touched a nerve in Malacañang.
Malacañang continues to scoff at Sen. Leila de Lima’s receipt of a rosary as a gift from Pope Francis, with presidential spokesperson Harry Roque saying the Catholic Church leader does not know what she is like.
“That Pope does not know [the] true nature of De Lima’s character,” Roque said on Wednesday.
According to him, De Lima was no prisoner of conscience, or someone who was jailed for political and religious beliefs.
De Lima, one of the most vocal critics of President Rodrigo Duterte, has been detained for alleged links to drug trafficking. The charges against her were filed after Mr. Duterte came to power last year.
Roque’s statements followed that of Mr. Duterte, who also belittled what he said was De Lima’s bragging about the rosary from the Pontiff.
In an anticorruption summit on Tuesday, the President joked that he would show the Pope a videotape, in apparent reference to a sex video purportedly of De Lima and her lover, which she has denied.
“’Sus, si Pope naman uy (Oh, this pope),” he said.
“That’s why I said, find me a copy of the video, I will show it to the Pope,” he added.
Mr. Duterte said the Pope might quit the papacy if he watched it, but quickly added that he was just kidding. “That’s a joke. I’m joking, Pope.”
But he defended his attack on any detractor, saying if he was criticized by the Pope he could criticize him 10 times over.
Mr. Duterte received flak during the election campaign in 2016 when he cursed the Pope for the traffic jams that his visit to Manila had created. He later apologized after being lambasted in the media.
When De Lima headed the Commission on Human Rights, she initiated an investigation of the death squad said to be operating in Davao City during Mr. Duterte’s tenure as mayor.
As senator, she opened an inquiry into allegations that there were extrajudicial killings in the administration’s war on drugs.
She disclosed over the weekend that she received a rosary from the Pope, to whom she had written to ask for prayers for herself, the Filipino people and the victims of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.
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