Duterte writes thank-you letter to Pope Francis


Posted at Jan 18 2017 11:20 AM

President Rodrigo Duterte and Pope Francis. File/Composite

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte has personally written to Pope Francis to thank him for visiting the Philippines in 2015.

In a Facebook post, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said he is set to deliver the letter to the Pontiff during the baciamano, or the traditional kissing of the Pope's ring, in a visit to Vatican on Wednesday.

Dureza is currently in Rome to attend the third round of peace talks between the government and communist rebels.

In 2015, Duterte made headlines for supposedly cursing Pope Francis for the heavy traffic which ensued during his papal visit to the Philippines.

Duterte stressed that it was not the Catholic leader whom he cursed at, but the way the government handled the security preparations that led to closure of some roads.

Nonetheless, he wrote the Vatican to apologize for his irate comments and in return, received a letter from a representative of the Holy See.

Duterte however has repeatedly criticized the Catholic Church since, dubbing it as the "most hypocritical institution."

Several Catholic leaders have decried the mounting body count in Duterte's war on drugs, as well as his push for the reinstatement of death penalty. -- With a report from Dexter Ganibe, DZMM