MANILA - A spokesman of President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said the Chief Executive was not serious when he said a priest is to blame for the collapse of a church building in Itogon, Benguet.
"Ang tingin ko naman po hindi seryoso ang Presidente. Let us not always take his word seriously," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.
Duterte has lashed out against the Catholic Church several times, even calling it the "most hypocritical institution."
On Sunday, Duterte said the building collapse should not have happened had they changed the priest in town.
"Sa totoo lang, kung pinalitan ninyo 'yung pari diyan, hindi magbagsak 'yang simbahan na 'yan," the President said.
"Bobo kasi itong mga pari," Duterte added.
The President said he will be visiting the area Monday: "Magpunta man ako bukas."
The number of people killed by Typhoon Ompong (international codename Mangkhut) in the Philippines jumped to 54 on Monday, police said, as more landslide victims were discovered. With a report from Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News