Palace says it’s unfair to implicate President Duterte in priests’ death threats

Published March 12, 2019, 6:50 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Genalyn Kabiling

It is unfair to blame President Duterte for the alleged death threats received by some priests in the country, Malacañang insisted on Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the President has voiced his stern warning to lawless elements not to commit violence against priests.

He noted that alleged death threats could come from pranksters, anti-Duterte trolls or enemies of the priests, but not from the President.

“It is unfair to be pointing to the President as behind it lalo pa, sinasabi nila, last month pa raw nila nakukuha [especially now they’re saying they got the threats last month],” he said during a Palace press briefing.

“Eh mayroon nang salita si Presidente, matindi iyong salita niya na huwag ninyong gagalawin ang mga pari at mga Obispo [The President has issued a stern warning not to harm the priests and bishops],” he added.

Last Monday, three priests went public and claimed to receive death threats in recent weeks amid their criticisms over the government’s war on drugs.  The threats were supposedly triggered by the insults ruled by the President against the Catholic Church.

Panelo said there were many probabilities about the source of the purported threats to the priests’ lives.

“The easiest and the most convenient way to send threats is by text messages because you cannot trace it,” he said.

“It could be coming from pranksters. It could be coming from anti-Duterte trolls. It could be coming from mga kaaway ng mga pari. So hindi natin alam [or enemies of the priests so we don’t really know],” he said.