MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte told Jesus is Lord leader Eddie Villanueva that he had apologized to God after his recent comments stirred controversy, a Cabinet official said Wednesday.
Duterte met with Villanueva in Malacañang for 2 and a half hours late Tuesday. The television evangelist had demanded a public apology from the President for calling God stupid.
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, who was at the meeting, said Villanueva clarified to Duterte that he sought an apology "not to the people nor to the religion, but to God."
"Immediately after he made those remarks, [he] said, 'Sorry, God, hindi ka kasama dito, you're not included," Panelo told radio DZMM.
According to Panelo, Duterte told Villanueva that he made the controversial remark because an Australian nun who is facing deportation, Patricia Fox, was using God "in vain" and "violating the law" using religion.
Duterte had called Fox foul-mouthed for criticizing his government while ignoring her own country's alleged misdeeds.
In his meeting with Villanueva, the President also said his God was "all forgiving and all kind" and not one to "create chaos and discredit others," according to Panelo.
Villanueva, he said, was "elated" over Duterte's explanation.
"Sabi niya, tuwang-tuwa ako, ang ganda ng paliwanag ng Presidente. Mali ang intindi, ibang context pala," Panelo said.
(He said, "I'm very happy, the President's explanation was good. There was a misunderstanding, the context of his statement was different.)
The President also held a dialogue earlier this week with Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, head of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines.
A 4-man panel created by Duterte is set to meet with other CBCP officials.