MANILA - Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani has a "friendly challenge" for President Rodrigo Duterte.
The retired bishop said if the president is really brave, he would roam the streets without security escorts just like the bishops.
"Meron lang akong friendly challenge kay Presidente Duterte. Simple lang na ganito. Alam ninyo kaming mga obispo naglalakad kami, wala kaming bodyguard, wala kaming bullet-proof vests, wala kaming mga security aids na nakapaligid na marami, wala kaming dalang baril. Gano’n kami," Bacani said in an interview with Church-run Radio Veritas on Tuesday.
"Ang challenge ko kay President Duterte kung talagang matapang siya, simple lang, gawin niya yung ginagawa namin."
[I have a friendly challenge to President Duterte. It's simple. We bishops, we roam the streets without bodyguards, no bullet-proof vests, no security aids around us, no firearms. That's how we are.
My challenge to President Duterte is if he is really brave, let him do what we bishops are doing.]
Bacani was reacting to another violent rhetoric issued by Duterte, saying "tambays" or bystanders should kill or steal from "rich bishops."
On Monday, Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos also castigated Duterte, saying his "kill, kill, kill" presidency is a disappointment and a disgrace to the country.
It was the president's latest tirade against members of the Catholic hierarchy in a word-war that began in the 2016 presidential campaign.
It intensified amid the government's bloody war against illegal drugs which saw thousands of individuals killed in police operations, prompting condemnation from members of the Catholic church.
Duterte retaliated, calling the Catholic Church the most hypocritical institution, even mocking several Christian doctrines such as the Trinitarian belief.
This resulted in a verbal tussle between the president and prominent Catholic prelates such as Lingayen Archbishop Socrates Villegas, former president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), and Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David.