President Rodrigo Duterte had praise for Allah for the progress of the passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), but he continued to lash out against members of the Catholic clergy.
Speaking before a Muslim-dominated crowd in a peace assembly for the BOL ratification in Cotabato City on Friday night, Duterte reiterated that he was not Catholic, criticizing its leaders, whom he called “crazy.”
“There is a part of me which is Islam actually. Kaya kung mag away-away kami ng mga buang na pari na ‘yan, hindi man ako Katoliko. Islam man. Totoo (That’s why even if I and those crazy priests bicker, I am not a Catholic. I’m Islam. It’s true),” he said in his speech.
“God must be good to us. The fact that we have reached this point after so many years of negotiation and interruptions. We are here. Insha’ Allah. God is great. Allahu Akbar,” Duterte added.
Duterte’s pronouncements came a day after Malacañang told Catholic Church leaders not to meddle in how the President runs the government.
His spokesman Salvador Panelo said the President’s tirades against the clergy and the Catholic teachings should not worry the bishops considering the church’s long existence.
“There is therefore no need for some of its leaders to act distressed and manifest their unpleasant comments against the President, especially with respect to how the President runs the government,”Panelo added.
The Palace official made the remark after Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas expressed concern over Duterte’s health.
“Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas has expressed his concern about the President and said that the latter’s statements on the Church may not be good for his health and stature as the country’s leader,” Panelo said.
“The concern of Archbishop Villegas is, in fact, shared by the majority of Filipinos who understand that the success of this President equates to the success of the nation,” he added.
Duterte, born and raised a Catholic, routinely attacks the Church and its teachings.
Last year, he drew flak after calling God “stupid.” He held a dialogue with church leaders after his rant.
Recently, the President suggested to bystanders to rob and kill moneyed bishops, stepping up his attacks on the church that has been critical of his brutal drug war.
Malacañang, however, has repeatedly defended Duterte’s rhetoric against members of the church, noting that he was just defending himself against bishops and priests who use the pulpit against his administration.