By Argyll Geducos
President Duterte asked the public not to take his joke about drug addicts and street idlers robbing and killing members of the clergy seriously, saying those who will do it will be answerable to him.
Duterte issued the warning after he revealed that he received a text message from Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle that someone working for the Duterte family has threatened some priests.
In his speech at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City on Monday, Duterte said the opposition are probably the ones behind the threat made to members of the clergy.
“Naninira ito. Sigurado sa kabali ‘yan (Someone is trying to ruin my image. Definitely, this is from the opposition),” he said Monday.
“Ginawa ‘yan para siraan ako. Ano makuha ko, bakit ko patayin ang pari (They do that to ruin me. What will I gain from killing priests)?” he asked.
The President then explained that his jest about drug addicts and street idlers robbing priests because they are rich is only his response to criticisms made by members of the clergy against him.
“’Yang aming away ko sa Katoliko amin lang ‘yan personal. Kayong mga adik ‘wag ninyong totohanin yung pukpokin yung bishop at kardinal. Hindi sila kasali sa political ruckus (My beef against the Catholic Church is personal. You drug addicts should not take that seriously, hammering the bishops and cardinals. They are not part of the political ruckus),” Duterte said.
According to Duterte, those who harm members of any religious institution will be answerable to him.
“Pero ‘wag niyo talaga patayin mga obispo, at pari, it is not allowed (But seriously, do not kill the bishops and priests. It is not allowed),” he said.
“I’m warning, whoever… ‘wag kayong magkamali. Yung mga imam, mga pari, mga madre, don’t mess with them. Kasi pagka-ganon, ako makakalaban mo (I’m warning whoever is behind this. Do not dare mess with the imams, priests, even the nuns. If you do, you’ll be answerable to me),” he added.
Duterte’s beef with the Catholic Church stemmed from the clergy’s criticism against him and his policies, particularly the drug war, even when it was only the first two months of his administration.
According to Duterte, he is fine with Filipinos criticizing him, even priests, as long as they do not use the pulpit to speak against him.