MANILA - Presidential candidate and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte claimed Sunday that the Vatican has forgiven him for supposedly cursing Pope Francis last year.
Speaking to reporters in Bohol, Duterte said he earlier wrote the Catholic Church to apologize for his irate comments about the traffic jam caused by the Pontiff's Philippine visit in January 2015.
The 71-year-old mayor said he received the reply from Vatican just recently.
He added that he is happy with the response of the Holy See absolving him.
But Duterte refused to show reporters a copy of the Vatican letter, saying that unlike other politicians, he will not use it to gain votes.
Duterte also said he will only release the letter after the May 9 elections.
The seven-term mayor came under fire for his remarks about Pope Francis during an expletive-laden speech when he was formally declared PDP-Laban standard-bearer in November 2015.
Duterte stressed that it was not Pope Francis whom he cursed at, but the way the government handled the security preparations that led to closure of some roads.
The aspiring president said he peed in his car after being stuck for hours in traffic during the Pope's visit. This, he said, was evidence of incompetency on the part of the government.
(Duterte: I can never curse my Pope)
Duterte has since then vowed to avoid using curse words.