Palace: Don't take Duterte's tirades vs Church se­ri­ously

Sun.Star Pampanga - - NATION! - (Third Anne Per­alta-Malonzo/ SunS­tar Philip­pines) (Ruth Abbey Gita/SunS­tar Philip­pines) Gita/SunS­tar Philip­pines) (Ruth Abbey

PRES­I­DENT Ro­drigo Duterte's pro­nounce­ment about harm­ing the clergy should be taken lightly, as it was a mere "joke" di­rected against some mem­bers of the Catholic Church "vi­o­lat[ing] their own vows," Mala­cañang said on Tues­day, Fe­bru­ary 26.

Speak­ing to Palace re­porters, Pres­i­den­tial Spokesper­son Savador Panelo said Duterte's re­lent­less tirades with "hy­per­bole" against the pre­lates should not be deemed as an "en­cour­age­ment" to cause harm to the Catholic Church lead­ers.

Panelo also blamed Duterte's crit­ics for mak­ing it ap­pear that the Pres­i­dent was "se­ri­ous" when truth is, he was merely crack­ing a "joke."

"Joke lang 'yun (It's just a joke). It's just a hy­per­bole," the Palace of­fi­cial said, when asked if the Pres­i­dent's pre­vi­ous call to harm the clergy was just a "joke."

"If it's a hy­per­bole, then it's not an en­cour­age­ment. It is only the op­po­si­tion, the crit­ics who make it so. That is pre­cisely why they should be blamed for that, not him," he added.

Panelo made the state­ment a day af­ter Duterte warned that he would be an "en­emy" of any­one who would at­tempt to hurt mem­bers of the Catholic Church.

In a speech de­liv­ered Mon­day, Fe­bru­ary 25, Duterte took back his ear­lier state­ment to "rob and kill" mon­eyed bish­ops, fol­low­ing the "death threats" al­legedly re­ceived by Catholic priests.

"'Pag gi­nawa mo yan sa kanila, ako mismo ang kal­a­ban mo at ako ang hi­hirit sa'yo, kasi gi­nawa mo yan para sir­aan ako (If you do that, I'll be your en­emy and I'll go af­ter you be­cause you're do­ing that to vil­ify me)," he said in an event in Pasay City.

Duterte's lat­est warn­ing came even af­ter he re­peat­edly en­cour­aged street idlers to "kill" bish­ops he dubbed as "use­less" and "stupid."

De­spite this, Panelo noted that Duterte was "se­ri­ous" when he cau­tioned the pub­lic to re­frain from harm­ing the clergy.

"Again, he was not threat­en­ing any­one. I will re­peat what he said. When he makes com­ments, he cre­ates cer­tain sit­u­a­tions to make peo­ple laugh or to stress a mes­sage. But he doesn't threat peo­ple. He only threats crim­i­nals. Only the crim­i­nals, the cor­rupt, the evil­do­ers, the scoundrels, the dregs of so­ci­ety, not the priest, not the bish­ops, not any­one," he said.

"This one, he (Duterte) says, 'Do not harm them kung hindi may prob­lema kayo sa akin (if you do not want to have a prob­lem with me).' Iyan ang (That's a) se­ri­ous talk. He's talk­ing as Pres­i­dent en­forc­ing the law," Panelo added.

Duterte has per­sis­tently lam­basted the Catholic Church, which is crit­i­cal of his ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The Pres­i­dent had tried to mend ties with the Catholic Church when he cre­ated on June 25 a four-man panel, which is tasked to hold a dia­logue with var­i­ous re­li­gious groups.

How­ever, Duterte's four-man com­mit­tee seemed to have failed to rec­on­cile with the lead­ers of the Catholic Church.

Panelo nev­er­the­less said the Pres­i­dent re­mains open to pos­si­ble dia­logue with the church lead­ers.

"First, it's not a prob­lem. Num­ber two, he's al­ways open. Mata­gal na niyang sinasabi iyan (He's been say­ing that)," he said, when pressed if Duterte has in­ten­tion to reach out to the Catholic Church.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.