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Duterte respects Christian faith

PRESIDENT Duterte with Masbate Gov. Antonio Kho during his  birth anniversary celebration at the Kalasangan Farm in Cataingan, Masbate. (Presidential photo)

PRESIDENT Duterte with Masbate Gov. Antonio Kho during his birth anniversary celebration at the Kalasangan Farm in Cataingan, Masbate. (Presidential photo)

Malacañang said yesterday that President Duterte continues to respect the Christian faith despite his continued criticisms against the Catholic Church.

Duterte has been criticized anew when he joked that street idlers or “tambays” should rob bishops because they have a lot of money.

Panelo explained that Duterte, despite his attacks against the Catholic Church, continues to respect their faith. He said this is proven by the recent actions and policies of the President.

“PRRD’s signing of Republic Act No. 11163, otherwise known as the National Bible Day Act, which recognizes the value of the Holy Bible, as the core of Christian faith, and of its reading, as a communion between Christians and their Creator,” Panelo said, referring to the new law which declares the last Monday of January as a special
working holiday.

Panelo also referred to Duterte’s message where he joined all Filipino Catholics and devotees of the Black Nazarene in commemorating the annual “Traslacion” and acknowledging that the people’s devotion to the sacred image attests
to a strong faith and reliance in God.

“The President’s actions show that he recognizes the fundamental role of religion in the lives of the Filipino people, all with its rich cultural, social, and ethnic diversity. It is therefore his fervent hope that the free exercise of all religions pursuant to the Constitution shall aid and encourage the development of the moral character and spiritual foundation of our citizens,” he said.

However, Panelo said that they expect that Duterte would again be under the spotlight for his remarks, arguing that the people criticizing the President are those who are biased against him.

“If only these detractors do not turn a blind eye to the context of the President’s speeches and momentarily suspend their incorrigible biases, they will be one with the majority of the Filipinos in comprehending what the President
means,” he said.

Panelo explained anew that Duterte was only dramatizing his point that bishops are supposedly enjoying a life of luxury and fail to empathize with the condition of the poor people.

“Listening to his speech with an open mind and watching his body language, one can easily discern that PRRD was only airing his sentiments against some Church leaders who are living in luxury, contrary to their teachings,” he said.

“His use of figures of speech, as we have repeatedly emphasized, is his style in articulating and dramatizing a point. In the case instant, he wishes to stress the failure of some bishops to empathize with the masses as they live comfortably in their rectories while the latter endures the vestiges of poverty,” he added.

According to Panelo, the clergy should be able to accept Duterte’s tirades as they have done the same to the President and his policies.

“It becomes the duty of the President to subject some of its leaders on their hypocritical practices, especially so when some of them commenced the adverse narratives against him using the pulpit and even wishing the President’s demise,” he said. “If the men of the cloth can unleash tirades against the President, then they should be able to receive some lashes from him to return the favor,” he added.

Duterte said that he is intentionally shaking the tree and pushing civility to its limits, saying he has been the receiving end of criticisms since the election period in 2016. (Argyll Geducos)