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Duterte meets Vidal

Is this is a sign of warming of ties between President Duterte and the Catholic Church?

Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal paid a visit to the President in Malacañang Wednesday and offered prayers for the success of his administration.

Duterte warmly welcomed the white-haired and wheelchair-bound Vidal at the Music Room last Wednesday showing his respect for the revered bishop from Cebu. The bishop’s visit comes weeks after Duterte’s stinging tirade against some Catholic bishops for allegedly being corrupt and hypocrites.

“Supreme Court Associate Justice Jose Catral Mendoza, who accompanied President Duterte in the courtesy call, said that Cardinal Vidal assured the President that he will pray for him and the country’s success,” Radio Television Malacañang said about the short video showing the Duterte-Vidal encounter.

“Cardinal Vidal’s long-time friend, Lino Francisco Lebron, was among the Cardinal’s entourage during the meeting,” it added.

In the video posted by RTVM on Facebook, the President was seen shaking the hand of Vidal and showed the Filipino tradition of “pagmamano” as a sign of respect for the elder.

“Your eminence, welcome to Malacañang,” Duterte told the bishop upon his arrival in Malacanang. Accompanied by some staff, the two later met behind closed doors.

Meanwhile, the bitter rivalry between the country’s two foremost political parties could soon be a thing of the past.

Duterte has reportedly obtained the support of Liberal Party ranking official House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. when the latter visited Malacañang last Wednesday.

The House Speaker was accompanied by daughter Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte during the courtesy call on the President at the Music Room. The meeting took place ahead of the planned signing of a coalition agreement between the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan and the LP in the House of Representatives.
(Genalyn D. Kabiling)