Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Soc Villegas on Tuesday, March 5, posted a video compilation of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s accusations and tirades against the church over the past two years, a day shy of the supposed start of Lenten season.
In an eight-minute video posted on Facebook, Villegas showed clips of Duterte hurling vulgarity and curses towards leaders of the Catholic institution. He incorporated audio clips of Bible passages in between the said clips.
“My dear brothers and sisters, are you going to betray God, are you going to deny your faith, by your vote?” Villegas asked at the end of the video as reported by The Philippine Star.
The former Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president read passages such as: “Hudas, ipagkakanulo mo ba ang anak ng tao sa sa isang halik (Judas would you betray the son of man with a kiss)?,” in the said video.
The video had snippets of Duterte stating: “Are there any bishops here, I want to kick your ass. And the priests,” as he urged the electorate to keep in mind their faith when casting their votes.
The Pangasinan archbishop was known to comment on the chief executive’s speeches when the tough-talking leader often projects his attacks toward the age-old institution.
“When a revered and loved and admired a man like Pope Francis is cursed by a political candidate and the audience laughs, I can only bow my head and grieve in great shame. My countrymen has gone to the dregs,” Villegas explained.
“Vulgarity is corruption. When we find vulgarity funny, we have really become beastly and barbaric as a people,” he added.
The CBCP, now headed by Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, maintained their opposition on certain policies implemented by the current administration including human rights abuses in the drug war and lowering the age of criminal responsibility.
“As bishops, we have no intention of interfering in the conduct of State affairs. But neither do we intend to abdicate our sacred mandate as shepherds to whom the Lord has entrusted his flock.” the CBCP said.
Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, another vocal critic of the drug war — especially of killings in the cities of Caloocan, Malabon and Navotas — has reportedly been receiving death threats.
Palace: Those without sin, cast the first stone
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo clapped back at the posted video compilation with yet another passage from the Holy Scripture as he was sought for comment.
“Thou shall not judge so that you shall not be judged. Those without sin, cast the first stone,” the spokesperson said as reported by The Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Panelo earlier reiterated that drugs addicts need not be protected since illegal drugs have affected the way they perceive things. He noted that those addicts would not even realize that the religious institution was concerned about their rights.
“If one is a drug addict, it doesn’t matter to him who endorsed. You know, drug addicts are crazy. Their brains have been affected so there is no need for encouragement from anyone to do something bad against a person,” Panelo said last February.
Earlier this year, Duterte urged the public not to harm the religious leaders for if they do, they will have to face the strong-mouthed leader.
“Either Muslims or Christians, they had nothing to do with us. Do not do it. Do not try to do it. Ang religious [leaders] had nothing to do with the vagaries of life. Lay off! Stop threatening them or ako ang makakalaban ninyo (you will have to face me),” Duterte said.