IN A series of tirades against the Catholic Church, President Rodrigo Duterte called out the priests anew to preach about the effects of the drug problem, instead of lambasting his administration’s war on drugs.
“You keep on yakking. I heard there was one church allegedly exhibiting extrajudicial [killings],” Duterte said Thursday at the oath-taking of the Philippine National Police at the Palace’s Rizal Hall.
“Now, you want to end killings? All you have to do is to preach because many [Filipinos] are Catholics. If you are an exceptional priest, let them understand that they [have to choose]: you will die or abandon drugs. That way, you can help, instead of waiting for someone to die, criticize the police, criticize me,” he added.
Duterte was apparently referring to Baclaran church that exhibited poster-sized pictures of Filipinos killed because of his deadly campaign against drugs. The exhibit was part of the church’s campaign to stop the drug-related killings under the Duterte administration, which had already claimed about 6,000 lives.
On Wednesday, Duterte told the priests to “use shabu” for them to realize the magnitude of the drug problem in the country.
Despite the Church’s call, the President remained unfazed and merely taunted the priests, attacking their luxurious lifestyle.
“What did the Church do? The Catholic Church has collected millions [of pesos] every week, all throughout many churches. Where is the people’s money? We [in the government] can explain where the money went. How about you? The priests, bishops have decent clothing, cars, and house,” Duterte said.
“Even your chalice is gold while your followers have nothing to eat. If you want, I can melt the Malacañang’s chandelier to give you an additional gold,” he added.
Duterte also accused the church of asking former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to give them cars even though there was a principle of separation between the church and the state.
“Let’s be frank here. We don’t have to hide anything. You expose me, fine. I will expose you. Why is it okay [if you commit] mistake while it’s not okay for us? Bull**t. That’s absurd. Just help [if you want to address] extrajudicial killing,” Duterte said.
“What is your moral ascendancy in the Philippines? Religion? That does not help. You keep on yakking,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)