Duterte, CBCP president in 'private meeting'

AMID his recent tirades against the Catholic Church, President Rodrigo Duterte is scheduled to have a "one-on-one" dialogue with Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Archbishop Romulo Valles at the Malacañan Palace on Monday, July 9.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said both Duterte and Valles had agreed to hold a "private" meeting on Monday afternoon.

"This [meeting] was arranged by the President and Archbishop Valles directly," Roque told Palace reporters. "It will be a meeting only between the two presidents -- the president of the CBCP and President Duterte."

The meeting was set following Duterte's harsh criticisms against the Catholic Church and its beliefs.

Duterte has had a strained relationship with the Catholic Church after the religious group openly condemned his deadly war on illegal drugs that has so far killed thousands of suspected drug personalities since he assumed office in June 2016.

On July 9, the President told church leaders that he was willing to accept their criticisms as long as they do not use God's name "in vain."

Roque said he was not privy to the possible issues that would be raised during Duterte's meeting with Valles.

The Palace official was nevertheless optimistic that Duterte and Valles would agree to seek "closer cooperation" in serving the country.

"I do not know what exactly they will be discussing... Only the President and Archbishop Valles would know what they intend to discuss with each other," he said.

"But on a broader perspective, of course, we would like to see closer cooperation between the state and church in their desire to serve the people better," he added. (Ruth Abbey Gita/SunStar Philippines)


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