Panelo: Tagle not referring to Duterte

Published March 26, 2018, 5:35 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Duterte’s top legal adviser is confident that Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle was not referring to President Duterte when he spoke of ‘violent, cocky kings’ during his homily on Palm Sunday. Tagle on Sunday slammed leaders, or modern-day kings, who set bad examples to their followers and who are boastful and violent.

Catholic devotees wave palm fronds as Cardinal Luis Tagle blesses it during the celebration of Palm Sunday.  (ALI VICOY / MANILA BULLETIN)
Catholic devotees wave palm fronds as Cardinal Luis Tagle blesses it during the celebration of Palm Sunday.

“Sa panahon natin ngayon, kay dami-raming sumusunod sa mga hari na ang ginagamit ay dahas, armas, pananakot – kapos na kapos sa pag-unawa at pakikiisa sa mga mahihina (Today, there are many who follow kings who use violence, arms, and fear – clearly showing lack of understanding and solidarity with the weak),” Tagle said. But according to Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, Tagle was not referring to Duterte, saying the President is not a cocky and violent king. “I’m sure he’s referring to world leaders, not from this country. I don’t think this administration feels alluded to, or the leaders of this administration,” Panelo told Malacañang reporters this afternoon. “I think the actions of this administration speak for themselves. We have not initiated any violence against innocent people. Police officers only respond to any assault on their lives on the process of arrest,” he explained. Panelo said Duterte is not one who tolerates abuse of any kind and reassured the public that those who abuse their authority will be facing consequences. “The President has always [said he] would not tolerate any police abuse. He keeps on saying that there would be hell to pay if any violation on human rights is done by any police officer,” he said. “So I think [Cardinal Tagle] is referring to world leaders who are violent and cocky. Apparently not (President Duterte). It’s out of character,” he added. Panelo furthered that Duterte is a human rights defender who is only doing his mandate of protecting the people. “He [President Duterte] is [a] very humble person. He is [a] softhearted person who is [outraged] by any kind of assault on the person, of any person, of human rights violations,” he said. “He is one defender of every citizen’s rights and under the constitution, he is mandated to serve and protect the people, and he’s doing just that,” he added. President Duterte’s relationship with the Catholic Church has been on an unpaved road following criticisms on the administration’s bloody war against illegal drugs. Duterte has insulted the Church for opposing the drug war, his backing of the Reproductive Health Law, and his move to restore the death penalty. But following the election of Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles as new president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) last year, The Palace thinks that the relationship between the President and the Church will start to get better as the two are friends.