Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani on Thursday challenged President Rodrigo Duterte to prove his accusations that he has 2 wives and offered a P10 million reward if Duterte can prove it.
In an interview on Radio Veritas, Bacani said the President should not counter truth with lies and slander.
"Huwag niyang lalabanan ang katotohanan sa pamamagitan ng kasinungalingan at paninira ng kapwa. Maghunos-dili naman siya. Presidente siya, hindi naman ordinaryong tsismoso," he said.
(He should not fight the truth using lies and slanderous statements. He should watch what he says. He is a president and not an ordinary gossipmonger.)
He also countered Duterte's claim that he has 2 wives.
"Unang-una, saan nakuha ng presidente yun? Kung makapag-produce ang presidente ng kahit na isang asawa ko, bibigyan ko siya ng P5 milyon. Kahit mangutang ako, kung maka-produce siya ng 2, makaka-P10 milyon ang presidente natin," he said.
(First of all, where did he get that information? If he is able to produce even one supposed wife, I will give him P5 million. Even if I will need to borrow money, if he is able to produce 2, the president will be able to make P10 million.)
Bacani warned Duterte to watch what he says, because his belief in hearsay gives a bad example to the public.
"Bumababa ang tingin ng tao sa presidente na tsismoso, mali pa ang tsismis at hindi pa totoo. Ang tagal nang maraming nag-aakusa sa akin ng mga iba-ibang bagay, pero pagkakaroon ng asawa, hindi pa ako inakusahan ni minsan," the bishop said.
(People can think badly of a gossipy president, especially if his story is wrong and untrue. People have accused me of so many things, but nobody ever accused me of having a wife.)
Despite their ongoing word war, however, Bacani said that he will continue to pray for Duterte.
On Tuesday, Duterte lashed out at the Catholic Church, and said that the clergy has no moral ascendancy to lecture him because they also commit sinful acts.
"I challenge you now. I challenge the Catholic Church. You are full of s**t at mabaho rin kayong lahat, corruption and all," Duterte said during a meeting with relatives of Special Action Force (SAF) troopers killed in the 2015 Mamasapano encounter.
Duterte singled out Bacani, who has been vocal in criticizing the administration’s bloody war on illegal drugs, and accused him of having 2 wives.
“P****g i***g Bacani ‘yan, dalawa pala ang asawa. Pareho ko, parang mayor din ang buang. Tapos kung magsalita itong unggoy na ito. T**g i*a,” Duterte said.
(F** that Bacani, he has 2 wives just like me, he's just like a mayor, that fool. And this monkey talks as if... F***.)
On Wednesday, Bacani reiterated that he and other members of the clergy will not stop criticizing government measures which go against their beliefs.
Their protests are not meant to destabilize the government or bring down Duterte, but are meant to save lives.
"Ginagawa natin 'to hindi para ibagsak ang presidente, kundi para iligtas ang mga buhay ng mga tao na dapat nating sikapin na tulungan sa halip na patayin," Bacani said.
(With regards to telling the truth and calling out the wrong, we are doing this, not for ourselves and not to destabilize the president, but to save the lives of many people. We should help these people instead of killing them.)
Church leaders previously aired objections to several proposed policies, such as death penalty and lowering of a minor's age of criminal liability.