BULACAN - President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday claimed that would have himself nailed on a cross if Catholic Church leaders can refute the allegations contained in the book “Altar of Secrets.”
“Kung masagot nila ito at sabihin nila may isang bagay dito na mali, abangan ninyo ang Holy Week. Dito ako magpalansang sa krus sa Bulacan. Oo, totoo. Pero huwag naman matagal. Siguro mga 30 minutos,” he said in a speech during the groundbreaking of a school in Bulacan.
The President has made it his habit to distribute copies of the book written by late journalist Aries Rufo, which details alleged misdeeds of some members of the Philippine clergy.
The Catholic Church meanwhile has earned Duterte’s ire for criticizing his administration, particularly the bloody war on drugs.
“Inaatake nila ako sa pulpito eh. Huwag mong gamitin ito kasi parang Liberal Party ka na rin o PDP Laban ka diyan nagsasalita. Bakit mo ako ganunin? Tapos kayo numero uno. Do not use the pulpit at ‘yung homily mo to attack me ‘cause there is a separation of Church and state,” the President said.
“Do not use the religion because if you use the religion. Demonic ako --- demonyo ako and to the extent magsabi, 'sana mamatay na si Duterte' in a mass. You are treading into dangerous grounds,” he added.
The President also urged gay Church leaders to come out.
“Kuwan man ang mga bakla pero sila they should come out in the open, cancel celibacy, and allow them to have boyfriends also. Ang problema kung sinong maniwala sa iyo,” he said.
The President also questioned sainthood in the Catholic Church.
“Para sa akin isa lang talaga ang Diyos. There is only one God. Hindi mo ako mapaluhod noon ng mga St. Patrick, St. Thomas. T*** i**. Hindi ko nga kilala 'tong mga a***** na 'to tapos luluhod ako sa kanila? Tapos may picture diyan St. Thomas, si San Vicente. Balang araw baka 'yang simbahan ninyo Santo Rodrigo. Crazy,” Duterte said.
“Alam mo ba ilan ang saints ng Catholic Church? Do you know how many? Five thousand plus saints. Kaniya-kaniyang saints. Basta mabait, diyan. Maski na loko-loko, malakas ka doon sa Vatican, santo ka. Ito namang mga g***** luluhod-luhod,” he added.
The President issued his expletive-laden tirade against the Church in front of an audience with young students, which he later apologized for.
“Pardon my word. I'm prone to use epithets pati curses,” he said.
Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines' public affairs committee, said they are not hiding the misdeeds committed by members of the clergy.
"Nasa balita naman iyan na may mga nang-aabusong opisyal nang simbahan. Hindi naman 'yan tinatanggi," he said Thursday in a "Bandila sa DZMM" interview.
To deal with those problems, the Church is conducting interventions, such as undergoing rehabilitation or worst, defrocking, Secillano said.
"Ito ay isang katotohanan na masakit man malaman pero tanggap namin dahil ito ay totoong nangyayari," he added.