Rody ready for dialogue with Church

President Rodrigo Duterte is willing to revive the talks with the Catholic Church following his scathing remarks against some of its leaders, the Palace said Monday.

Malacañang made the statement after nothing came out of the President and the church leaders’ earlier plan to have a dialogue. 

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the plan to conduct negotiations between the President and the Church leaders had not been carried out. 

“It only started at the height of [his verbal tussle] with the Church. After that, nothing,” Panelo told reporters.

Meanwhile, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said he was willing to negotiate between Duterte and the Catholic Church because the exchange of insults had become “uncomfortable.” 

Sotto, a devout Catholic, said many Filipinos had become uncomfortable with the situation. 

“May nababato at bumabato pabalik,” he said.

Panelo attributed the seeming impasse between the government and the church to some of the traits of Filipinos during disagreements.

“Maybe because just like Filipinos, when there’s a problem they say, ‘let’s meet and talk.’ And then after a while, nothing happens, they have forgotten it until a controversy pops up again and they say let’s meet and talk’,” Panelo said.

Asked if Duterte, known for his sarcastic remarks against the Church, would be in the mood to sit down and talk with the country’s religious leaders, Panelo said: “Of course, if that’s what they ask for.

“The President is okay with it… Anything that is beneficial to the nation, he always likes it. It’s okay with him, the President is easy to talk to.”

Panelo made his remarks as he again defended the President’s previous statement that loiterers should kill and steal from the rich bishops.

“So when I got there I said, ‘Hey you bystanders when the bishop passes by, stage a holdup because he has lots of money, that son of a b*tch’,” Duterte said in his speech on Wednesday.

“Kill him. He’s angry at me, the one always blabbering.”

Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes then viewed Duterte’s statements as alarming and condemnable.

“This is a serious matter. Being the number one citizen of our country, the young generation might make him a role model in speaking improperly as though words have no moral consequences,” Bastes said in a statement Monday.

Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos echoed Bastes, saying the remark deserves condemnation and not laughs or applause from the audience.

“The advice just promotes criminality, encourages lawlessness. What kind of authority calls for killing?” Santos said.

“It is an immoral authority, does not respect life, and teaches wrong values. If he does it with bishops, how much more to ordinary citizens? What kind of head of state encourages killing?” 

Meanwhile, the Palace insisted that issuing stiff remarks was the President’s style to defend himself.

“Ever since, that’s his style. What he only meant was, ‘Those who are in the Church, especially the bishops, you are living in comfort and yet people are wallowing in poverty. You are not doing the teachings that you provide to the faithful’,” he said. With Macon Ramos-Araneta

from Manila Standard


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