MANILA – Malacañang maintained that President Rodrigo R. Duterte respects the Christian faith as shown by his actions and policies.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this comment after detractors slammed the President for his latest remarks on bishops.
In a statement Saturday, Panelo said Duterte was only using “figures of speech” and “dramatizing a point”.
He added that if the President’s detractors do not turn a blind eye to the context of his speeches, they will be able to comprehend what the President means.
“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,” Panelo said.
Panelo said that the President was simply stressing “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”.
“His use of figures of speech, as we have repeatedly emphasized, is his style in articulating and dramatizing a point,” he said.
He said if clergymen could easily criticize the President, they too should be able to accept criticism back.
“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,” Panelo said.
Given the President’s view on the importance of religion, he said, it becomes his duty to subject some of its leaders on their “hypocritical practices” especially those who use the pulpit to criticize him and wish him ill.
Panelo, meanwhile, enumerated the President’s actions and policies which showed he respected the Christian faith, including the recent signing of the National Bible Day Act (Republic Act 11163), which recognizes the value of the Holy Bible as a communion between Christians and their Creator.
He said the President also joined all Filipino Catholics and devotees of the Black Nazarene in commemorating the Traslacion which he hoped would “inspire each of us to do our part in improving the lives of our people, especially the poorest among us”.
“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,” he said.
Panelo expressed hope that the free exercise of all religions will encourage the development of the moral character and spiritual foundation of Filipinos. (PNA) By Azer Parrocha