Duterte apologizes to God

Published July 11, 2018, 11:35 AM

by Francine Ciasico

By Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte has issued an apology to God following his controversial statements about Him, saying he was created good, not bad.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte meets with CBCP President Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles in Malacanang, July 9, 2018. MBPHOTO.JANSEN ROMERO
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte meets with CBCP President Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles in Malacanang, July 9, 2018. (JANSEN ROMERO/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Even as he clarified that his god was different from the god of his critics, the President expressed hope that God would accept his apology since He is “all forgiving.”

“If it is the same God, then I’m sorry that’s how it is. ‘Yan ang sinabi ko. Sorry God. I said sorry God if God is taken in a generic term by everybody listening,” he said during his meeting with evangelist Bro. Eddie Villanueva in Malacañang Park Tuesday night.

Duterte, who has been under fire for calling God “stupid,” made clear that he was apologizing only to God.

“I only apologize to God, nobody else. If I wronged God, then He would be happy to listen to my apology. Why? Because God is all forgiving. Why? Because He does not remember past hurts. Why? Because God created me to be good, not to be bad,” he added.

Reaction

Before issuing an apology, the President explained that his statement about God was in reaction to the action of a foreign missionary critical of his government. He was apparently referring to Australian missionary nun Patricia Fox who faces deportation over alleged involvement in partisan political activities.

“As a religious, she was agitating also everybody there, the strikers. It was a volatile situation,” he said.

Duterte pointed out that his God was “good,” “does not thrive on lies,” and “never egg people to go in trouble.”

“You’re just a foreigner with a privilege there, you better go home,’ he said, alluding to Fox.

Church and State

Duterte then renewed his warning to religious leaders to stop using God to attack or criticize the government, reminding them about the principle of the separation between Church and the state.

He said it was “not proper” to use the name of God in vain to hurl attacks on the government.

“Remember there is a division between Church and state. You can criticize us anything at all from the garbage collector to the generals and all and even to the Vice President and senator…but never, never use the name of God as a front to attack government because that is not the proper way to do it,” he said.

“There is a separation of Church and state. Do not use God to attack government. That is not proper and God, I’m sure that is not what God wants,” he added.

In his visit to Pampanga on Tuesday afternoon, the President said he would continue to speak the “truth” and respond to church leaders using the pulpit to criticize him.

He insisted that he was “not attacking the Church” but he would not apologize for his action.

“Kasi marami naman diyan ‘yung merong mga Christian, evangelists, merong gusto akong kausapin. Dahil diyan, I cannot mention their names. But they wanted to see me,” he said.

“But if it’s a matter of me asking forgiveness, forget it. As a matter of principle, I will not. And I can burn in hell if it is true,” he added.

Villanueva, who ran and lost in the 2004 and 2010 elections, earlier urged Duterte to apologize to God for alleged blasphemous remarks. He claimed that a person might incur the wrath of God if he mocks and insults Him.

Senators welcome apology
Meanwhile, some senators on Wednesday said they are pleased to hear President Rodrigo Duterte has said “sorry” to God.

Senator Joel Villanueva, son of Jesus is Lord (JIL) Church leader Bro. Eddie Villanueva, said he is happy to learn of the President’s apology and hope that the nation can now move forward.

His father earlier met with Duterte to discuss his views on God, the Church and the Christian faith following the latter’s series of rants against God’s existence.

As to whether Duterte is sincere in his apology, Villanueva said it is only God who can judge one’s sincerity.

“I am glad that the President has apologized. Only the Lord our God can judge our sincerity,” Villanueva said in his text message to reporters.

“Moving forward, I hope the President can lead us towards greater unity and respect for ones faith and religion and to focus all energy on policies that can uplift the nation,” added Villanueva.

‘Thank God’

Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson also said he can only thank God for enlightening the President to make that humble apology.

“It shouldn’t matter much if it was my God or his God he is apologizing to, because there is only one God of the universe anyway,” Lacson said.

“I know there are firm God-believers like me supporting his presidency who can now get over with the dilemma of whether or not to continue supporting his leadership. We can now move on while praying for his continued enlightenment,” he said.

Courage to accept mistake
Lacson noted it takes courage and character for a man to openly accept his mistake and apologize.

“This was how I knew the President in the many times that I was dealing with him when he was still mayor of Davao City,” he said.

“I am glad that at the end of the day, he is still how I’ve known him,” added Lacson.

‘Close to their hearts’

Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, on the other hand, said he had a feeling Duterte’s meeting with the JIL leader caused the Chief Executive’s change of heart.

“I have a feeling his meeting with Bro. Eddie may have had some influence. His apology will be welcomed by many no doubt,” Angara said.

“Although there is a constitutional separation of church and state many of our countrymen hold god and their religion very close to their hearts, thus a welcome development,” he stressed. [With a report from Hannah Torregoza]

 
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