Malacañang on Sunday asked the public to give President Rodrigo Duterte “an allowance for mistakes” after he criticized priests and bishops, even going to the extent of accusing one of having two wives.
Communications Assistant Secretary Ana Maria Banaag said she hopes that the shortcomings of Duterte in his language are compensated for by the work he does as president.
“At the end of the day, sana we can give our President also allowance for mistakes. Kung may pagkukulang man siya sa pananalita at least nagta-trabaho naman siya,” Banaag said in an interview on dzRB.
Banaag denied that Duterte resented criticism and explained that the President, who has been known to be vocal about his plans, is human too who gets tired and annoyed when bombarded with criticism.
“Tao din lang naman ang ating Presidente 'di ba? He is a working President. He works hard, he gets tired. Sometimes he gets annoyed,” she said.
Duterte last Tuesday said the Catholic Church has no moral ascendancy to lecture him because some members of the clergy are also engaged in sinful acts.
He also singled out prominent Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani, former head of the Diocese of Novaliches, and claimed that Bacani also has 2 wives like him.
Bacani, in response, challenged Duterte to prove his accusations that he has 2 wives and offered a P10 million reward if Duterte can prove it.
“Like any other person, like anyone else, if they criticize you publicly, sometimes you get irritated also,” Banaag said.
Banaag also challenged the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to suggest solutions on how to deal with reported cases of extrajudicial killings before they make judgments.
“EJK is not state-sponsored. And, however, the CBCP may claim it perhaps they might suggest solutions on how to go about the problem na lang siguro and help the government before they make judgments about all these EJKs and attribute it to the President or the administration,” she said.
The Catholic Church has been a vocal critic of Duterte's intensive campaign against illegal drugs which includes the highly-criticized "Oplan Tokhang" (knock and plead) operations of the police force.
As of January 24, a total of 2,987 drug-related fatalities have been recorded since May 10, data from the ABS-CBN Research and Investigative Group showed.
Of this figure, 1,098 have been killed by unidentified assailants while 1,690 have been killed in police operations.