MANILA - A Catholic bishop on Sunday brushed aside President Rodrigo Duterte's "wish" for priests to contract and die from venereal disease.
Duterte reportedly made the pronouncement after another priest celebrating Mass for opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV wished in jest for the Chief Executive to get sick.
"Ayaw ko nang mag-comment sa mga sinasabi ni Duterte, ng Presidente kasi hindi naman maaasahan ang mga sinasabi nya. Ang dali niya magsalita pagtapos kapag naipit na siya, babaguhin niya, babawiin nya," Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo told radio DZMM.
(I no longer want to comment on the statements of Duterte, the President, because his words are unreliable. He makes statements rashly and then changes, withdraws them when he finds himself in a tough spot.)
Pabillo noted that for instance, Duterte recently apologized to former US President Barack Obama, whom he had cursed in 2016 for criticizing his anti-narcotics drive.
"Mahirap naman mag-comment sa mga pananalita ng mga tao na hindi naman mapapaniwalaan ang kanilang tunay na intent at hindi naman nila paninidigan ang kanilang mga salita," said the bishop.
(It's hard to comment on the words of people whose true intent cannot be trusted and who cannot stand by their words.)
He instead urged the Catholic faithful to "pray for those who persecute you."
Pabillo himself celebrated Mass for Trillanes, after Duterte revoked the amnesty absolving the senator of charges over 2 failed uprisings against former President Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo.
Duterte's has lambasted the Catholic Church in several occasions amid the criticism of some religious leaders against his war on drugs and push for the return of death penalty.
He had sought a dialogue with Catholic leaders in June in apparent bid to repair ties.