We are praying for President Rodrigo Duterte, two Negros prelates said yesterday, following his renewed verbal attacks on the Catholic bishops.
Bacolod Bishop Patricio Buzon said that, like Caloocan Bishop P ablo Virgilio David, he is exhorting everyone to pray for the president.
“It just shows how terribly sick he is. Unless of course, this is again one of his diversionary tactics to take away our attention from his many kapalpakan (failures) which he needs to answer,” he added.
San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, in reaction to the president’s verbal attacks, said “I pray all the more for him.”
“We are no strangers to ridicule and persecution, and ours is nothing compared to the sufferings and ordeals of the poor in our country,” he said.
However, if such attitude of the President continues, it is the poor he vowed to help who will continue to suffer all the more hence the need to double our prayers for him, Alminaza added.
“I worry though of the effects of these repeated conditioning of minds that undermines the sanctity of human life and human dignity, creating a culture of death, a climate of utter disregard for human rights, non-observance of due process and adherence to the pragmatic principle that the end justifies the means,” he added.
Meanwhile, Alminaza said he will just continue doing what he is supposed to do - collaborating with various government agencies on the ground “to realize our shared mission and goals for the common good, especially our poorest sectors.”
Duterte, in his speech during the 2017 Presidential Award for Child-Friendly Municipalities and Cities at Malacañang Wednesday, said “(I)tong mga obispo ninyo, patayin ninyo. Walang silbi iyang mga gagong iyan. (These bishops, kill them.Those stupid ones have no use) All they do is criticize”.
In a separate speech, on the same day, the president also said “the most hypocritical institution in the entire Philippines is the Catholic Church and the Pope knows that.”
Duterte also said most of the priests there “are homosexuals, almost 90 percent of you. So do not postulate on my morality. You’ve always been attacking me ever – before the election, during and after in the name of human rights”.
“I think that's only a hyperbole on the part of the President. We should be getting used to this President. He makes certain statements for dramatic effect,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said yesterday.*
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