Duterte the 'devil’s friend'? Palace reacts to Pope Francis’ remarks

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 21 2019 02:53 PM | Updated as of Feb 21 2019 02:56 PM

MANILA - Malacañang on Thursday said President Rodrigo Duterte does not feel alluded to by the remarks of Pope Francis, who said people who spent their lives denouncing the Catholic Church were friends of the devil.

Speaking on the eve of a conference he convened to guide senior bishops on how to tackle widespread abuse that has decimated the Church's credibility, Pope Francis said the church's mistakes should be corrected.

He told worshippers at the Vatican that accusers who did nothing but criticize the Church were "friends, cousins and relatives of the devil."

Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said he does not think that the President, a Church critic, is among those being alluded to by the Pope as the devil’s friend.

“One of the better critics of the Church is the Pope himself. He criticizes the members of the Church who are engaged in what he perceives to be immorality which is outside the teachings of Christ or internal discipline of the Church,” Panelo said in a Palace press briefing.

“If I will agree with that then the Pope will be referring to himself also because he is a critic.”

President Duterte routinely calls the Catholic Church as the “most hypocritical institution” for criticizing his war on drugs despite the involvement of members of the clergy in sexual abuse cases. - with Reuters