MANILA - Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said he is more worried that President Rodrigo Duterte's attacks on the Catholic Church will impact him more than affect the religious institution.
Speaking on DZMM Teleradyo, Villegas said he is not worried for the Catholic Church as it has survived far worse attacks in the past.
"I am more worried for the President than the Church. Because the Church has been there for 2,000 years, guided by God, guided by our faith, at alam ko na mas marami pang pagsubok na pinagdaanan ang Simbahan na nalampasan niya sa loob ng 2,000 taon," he said.
(I am more worried for the President than the Church. Because the Church has been there for 2,000 years, guided by God, guided by our faith, and I know the Church has been through a lot of challenges, and surpassed these challenges over a span of 2,000 years.)
Villegas said he is worried that Duterte's tirades against the Church may not be good for his health and for his stature as the country's leader.
"Ang nagwo-worry ako sa ating Pangulo kasi hindi maganda para sa kaniya, para sa kaniyang kalusugan, para sa kaniyang stature, 'yung kaniyang ginagawang pag-uugali patungkol sa Simbahan," he said.
(I am worried for the President because his attitude toward the Church is not good for his health, his stature.)
"I think ang magiging victim nito at the end ay siya at hindi 'yung Simbahan," Villegas added.
(I believe in the end, it will be the President, and not the Church, who will be the victim.)
Duterte has been at odds with the Catholic Church over issues such as the administration's bloody war on drugs. He has also repeatedly attacked some of the church's basic beliefs, and often brings up alleged sexual abuses of members of the clergy.
He also recently told "tambays" or bystanders that they should kill or steal from "rich bishops."
Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani responded with a "friendly challenge" for Duterte, daring him to roam the streets without security escorts just like what bishops do.
Last December, Duterte also said bishops are better off dead for being useless.