Former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte paid his respects at the wake of Davao Archbishop Emeritus Fernando Capalla, who, over the years, served as both a supporter and a critic of Duterte's leadership in Davao City and later as president.
Duterte visited the late archbishop's wake on the evening of Saturday, December 6. Capalla passed away that same morning at his retirement residence in Catalunan Grande at 1:38 a.m.
In a Facebook post, the former Davao City mayor called Capalla a "good friend" and that he reveres him as a religious man.
"I have always acknowledged his ascendancy in my life, and on some occasions, I have sought his counsel. He was a good counselor and adviser and I respect him deeply," Duterte said, adding that he expressed his condolences to the family.
Capalla had initially supported Duterte's advocacy for federalism, stating in a 2014 SunStar Davao report, "The moral reason for my support, which is personal and not in the name of the Church and Bishop-Ulama Conference, is rooted in my understanding that a federal system and a parliamentary form of government would ultimately assure the adequate and human promotion of the common good or national welfare and the human's growth, development and protection of the human person."
However, in 2016, Duterte criticized Catholic priests, including Capalla, for their continuous criticism of the administration's intensified campaign against the narcotics trade.
Capalla had previously stated that Duterte needed to listen to the public and criticized his drug war in a Mindanews report.
Duterte, in response, dismissed Capalla's advice and emphasized the need to combat drug proliferation.
Capalla was quoted in a Mindanews report and published by SunStar Philippines, suggesting that Duterte could become the "greatest president" if he listened more and spoke less. "Listening is very, very important, even in a dialogue," emphasized the Archbishop Emeritus.
However, Duterte dismissed Capalla’s advice, emphasizing his commitment to preventing the proliferation of drugs. He argued that drug addicts, feeling pursued, were prone to paranoia and often armed, leading to violent confrontations.
He defended his tough stance, questioning accusations of abusing his power to combat drug dependence and expressing frustration with Capalla's criticism.
In 2001, Capella condemned killings attributed to the vigilante group Davao Death Squad during Duterte's mayorship.
In a pastoral letter titled "Thou Shall Not Kill," Capalla asserted that taking a life in any manner was against the Creator and humanity. He advocated against extrajudicial actions, emphasizing the principles of innocence until proven guilty and the government's responsibility to rehabilitate prisoners.
Meanwhile, the Archdiocese of Davao announced that the late archbishop will be laid to rest on January 15, 10 a.m. at the San Pedro Cathedral. RGL