By MB Online
The new House Minority Leader Representative Bienvenido Abante Jr. said that he was initially offended by President Rodrigo Duterte’s remarks regarding the God of Christians being “fundamentally erroneous.”
In an interview by host Christian Esguerra of ANC, Abante, the Manila 6th District Representative explained his reaction to this.
“When I first heard that several months ago, attacking the Catholic Church. You know in a way, I said well he’s Catholic, so perhaps he has the right to attack the Catholic Church. But when he started to talk about God in General, at first I was actually offended.”
However, eventually Abante said that he understood that the President was merely exercising his free of speech right.
That was actually the defense made by Duterte when he drew flak for criticizing religious institutions and even God Himself.
When asked to comment on the part of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) wherein the President said that he did not believe a universal being would allow hell to happen to his creation. “What kind of God is he?? He is not my God,” Duterte then said.
“I don’t agree with that. So that would be something that the President and I would disagree on. And even if we talked together about that personally, I would tell him that.”
Asked to elaborate further what exactly he would tell the President, Abante said: “I would tell him that I believe in the God of the Bible. I would tell him that the God is not the author of sin. I would tell him that sin came into this world. I would tell him that the Devil is real. I would tell him that hell is real because it’s in the Bible and it takes faith to believe in it. And if he does not want to, it’s up to him. We’re always free to believe what we want to believe in.
Abante, aside from being a solon is also a senior pastor and a bishop of the Metropolitan Bible Baptist Church.
Abante said that when the US Constitution was drafted many of the representatives then were Baptists.
That is why when the American Constitution, from which the Philippine Constitution, he explained was copied from, was drafted, it included the fundamental principle of allowing anyone to express one’s belief.
He said that this was the essence of democracy – to be allowed to express one’s beliefs.
Abante said that with his comments on religion, the President is merely making full use of this right that is inherent in our Constitution.
He also said that it is known to everyone that the President divulged that he suffered an ordeal with a priest when he was younger, which might explain his attitude towards them.