Duterte slammed for 'womanizing, cursing Pope'


Rodrigo Duterte (C), a seven-term Philippine mayor, walks with his supporters during proclamation ceremony as a presidential candidate held at a hotel in Manila November 30, 2015. Photo by Romeo Ranoco, Reuters

MANILA - A party-list leader on Tuesday assailed Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte for cursing the Pope over his traffic frustrations, while a women's group criticized him for being a womanizer.

In a statement, Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza said Duterte's expletives over the traffic jam caused by the Pontiff's visit last January is a "direct assault on the Catholic faith."

"The traffic jams during the Pope's public appearances in Manila were caused by the people who wanted to see him, and not by the Pope himself. Hindi kasalanan ng Santo Papa na pinagkakaguluhan siya ng milyon-milyong tao kahit saang panig ng mundo siya pumunta," Atienza said.

"Nirerespeto natin ang karapatan ni Mayor Duterte na magsalita at maipahayag ang kanyang saloobin. Subalit dapat ay igalang din niya ang karapatan ng bawat Pilipino na magpahayag ng ayon sa kanilang pananampalataya. Ang pagmumura sa Santo Papa ay hindi natin matatanggap," Atienza added.

Duterte supposedly cursed the Pope after he got stuck for 5 hours in a traffic gridlock because of the Catholic leader's visit.

"From the hotel to the airport, alam mo inabot kami ng… limang oras. Sabi ko bakit? Sabi pinasarado daw," he said in a speech at the Century Park hotel where he was formally declared PDP-Laban standard-bearer.

"Gusto kong tawagan, 'Pope p******"

But Duterte later clarified that he was not cursing the Pope but the government's incompetence in handling the pastoral visit.

In a Facebook post Tuesday, Duterte's staunch supporter, former North Cotabato Mayor Manny Piñol posted a short message from the mayor addressing those who felt offended by his speech.

''I can never curse my Pope. I was cursing at incompetence. If it was taken by some in that light, I sincerely apologize. I will continue to curse so our suffering nation takes action,'' Piñol said, quoting Duterte.

Atienza, however, stood in firm in his criticism of the mayor.

"I would like to believe that Mayor Duterte was merely trying to attract attention and be his usual controversial self when he made that statement. While we respect his right to run for president, he should also respect every Filipino's right to express their faith," the lawmaker said.

"Ang pagtakbo niya bilang presidente ay isang magandang pagkakataon upang maipadama sa kanya ng milyon-milyong Katoliko ang paghatol ng bayan."

Women's group Gabriela, meanwhile, slammed Duterte for his sexual affairs, saying that "womanizing and flaunting it is an affront to women."

"Womanizing and treating women as objects is an affront to women and it should not be flaunted. This reeks of machismo, reinforces the society's low regard of women and consequently heightens women's vulnerability to violence and abuse. This is both distasteful and unacceptable," it said.

Gabriela added that those gunning for public office should refrain from making statements and committing acts that are offensive to women.

It also called on other political aspirants to discuss and support platforms for women rights.