MANILA - Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani will remain relentless in criticizing President Rodrigo Duterte over certain policies, despite drawing the ire of the chief executive.
In an interview with the Church-run Radio Veritas, Bacani said he was merely defending the people's right to life by explaining the truth and denouncing the wrong.
"Tungkol sa pagsasabi ng katotohanan at pagpuna ng mali, ito'y ginagawa natin hindi para sa ating sarili," the prelate said.
Bacani also insisted that he is not aiming to destabilize the government.
"Ginagawa natin 'to hindi para ibagsak ang presidente, kundi para iligtas ang mga buhay ng mga tao na dapat nating sikapin na tulungan sa halip na patayin."
(With regards to telling the truth and calling out the wrong, we are doing this, not for ourselves and not to destabilize the president, but to save the lives of many people. We should help these people instead of killing them.)
Bacani also expressed hope that the country's bishops will also condemn the alleged cases of extrajudicial killings.
"Ako ay umaasa na ang mga Obispo ay sama-samang magsasalita laban dito sa extrajudicial killing. May mga Obispo na nagsasalita na diyan. Mabuting sama-sama na magsalita ang mga Obispo," the bishop added.
(I am hoping that the bishops will speak in unison against extrajudicial killing. There are bishops who are already speaking about it. But it's better if the bishops will speak as one.)
Duterte earlier lambasted Bacani in a speech in Malacanang, even accusing the bishop of having two wives like him. He also hit the Church for criticizing his war against drugs.
Officials of the Duterte administration has long denied that the alleged extrajudicial killings were state sponsored.
Just recently, in front of delegates from different countries at the 4th World Apostolic Congress on Mercy held in the country, Bacani hit the police force’s anti-drug operation, particularly its "Oplan Tokhang" (Knock and Plead), which he called the "bringer of death."
This sparked another series of tirades from Duterte, citing supposed corruption and hypocrisy of Catholic bishops.