MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte's controversial remark calling God "stupid" violates freedom of religion, left-leaning members of the House of Representatives said Tuesday.
Duterte on Saturday questioned why God allowed his "perfect" creation to be ruined by letting Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit.
"Patuloy na paglabag ito sa freedom of religion, sa kalayaan sa pananampalataya na ginagarantiya ng Konstitusyon at tungkulin ng Pangulo na ipatupad," ACT Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio of the Makabayan bloc told reporters.
(This is a continuing violation of the freedom of religion that is guaranteed by the Constitution, which the President is mandated to implement.)
"The President is entitled to his own beliefs... [Pero] bilang presidente, hindi siya pinahihintulutan manira sa anumang relihiyon, tungkulin niya na irespeto ang relihiyon ng bawat Pilipino," he added.
(No matter what he wants to believe, that is up to him... But as President, he is not allowed to malign any religion, it is his duty to respect the religion of every Filipino.)
Duterte, born and raised Catholic, has many times criticized the influential Church, the religion of some 80 percent of Filipinos. The President once called the Catholic Church the "most hypocritical institution," while Church leaders have denounced killings under his anti-narcotics drive.
Tinio also linked the President's tirades to the slay of 3 priests by unknown gunmen in a span of 6 months.
"'Yung mga atake niya sa Simbahan ay lumilikha ng environment kung saan for the first time, sunod-sunod na pinapatay sa simbahan pa mismo ang mga pari," he said.
(His attacks against the Church creates an environment where, for the first time, priests are killed, even inside the church, one after the other.)
The minority lawmaker was referring to the slays of Rev. Fr. Richmond Nilo, Rev. Fr. Mark Anthony Ventura and Rev. Fr. Marcelito Paez.
Nilo, a priest in Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen as he was about to start Mass on June 10.
In April 2018, Ventura was shot dead by an unidentified gunman after celebrating Mass in Gattaran, Cagayan.
Paez was, meanwhile, gunned down by unidentified assailants in December 2017 after assisting in the release of a political prisoner in the town of Jaen, Nueva Ecija.
Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate, meanwhile, said Duterte's remark is meant to divert public attention from pressing issues like the state of the economy and the government's crackdown on "tambays" or loiterers.
The President's remarks are also eroding his support base, added Gabriela party-list Rep. Emmy de Jesus.
- With a report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News