MANILA - As he drew flak for a controversial remark against God, President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday quoted the Bible.
"You know there’s a page in the Bible which I read almost every day. It’s the Ecclesiastes 3. 'There’s a time to be calm, there’s a time to be silent, to be poignant, a time to be subdued, and a time to be vicious.' Ganoon talaga ang buhay (That's how life is)," Duterte said in a speech at the 25th annual convention of the Vice Mayors’ League of the Philippines in Bohol.
His quote was an abridged version of the verse from the book in the Old Testament that talks about timing and begins with: "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heaven."
"There would be a time to speak, and I will, maybe in the coming days. For now, I will just keep my silence for I want to see how the nation reacts. Kumbaga, I’m shaking the tree. If you’d notice me every now and then, either national or local, ginugulo ko talaga 'yung puno (I'm really shaking the tree)."
Duterte said he has his own God, who is "according to his values."
"I have a God, it’s a God in my… my concept of God is according to my values. We have different gods, hindi tayo magkaintindihan (we do not understand each other). I have this deep and abiding faith in God. Talagang takot din ako. May mga anak ako, may mga apo, may 2 asawa ako, may 3 girlfriend ako (I'm also afraid. I have children, grandchildren, two wives, three girlfriends)," he said, drawing laughter from the audience.
Duterte drew criticism from several Catholic bishops and other Christian groups after he called God "stupid” as he spoke about the creation story in the Bible last week.
The President, who was born and raised a Catholic, then claimed that he was not referring to his own God when he labelled God as stupid.
“Wala akong sinabing torpe ang ginoo ko (I did not say my God was stupid),” he said.
“Your God is not my God because your God is stupid. Mine has a lot of common sense.”
Duterte has since formed a committee to hold a dialogue with the Catholic Church as the chief executive sought to mend ties with the institution and other sectors.
On Wednesday, his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said the public should not listen to her father's views on religious texts and instead "listen only when he speaks about his work."