MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he will declare October 26 a holiday in Cebu for the burial of the late Archbishop Emeritus of Cebu Ricardo Cardinal Vidal.
"I’ll sign the Executive Order declaring a holiday here in Cebu on the day of the burial of His Eminence," Duterte said in a speech during his visit to the wake of the late cardinal.
"When I die, you just pray for me, okay? No need for a declaration of holiday.”
During his speech, Duterte described the late Cardinal as a “person of peace” whose “language was always something about spreading love.”
"He did not, he wouldn’t even scold people, he wouldn’t do anything. I know this because I am from Cebu, from Danao,” Duterte said.
The President said he visited Vidal’s wake because “first and foremost, this is my obligation as a member of the Catholic Church.”
“Secondly, it’s important for me to be here as a Cebuano and as your President,” he added.
“I give due importance to this now because when I go back to Manila, I will again attend to pile of papers waiting for my signature.”
Duterte has clashed with some members of the clergy over his controversial war on drugs, but his speech during the wake struck a conciliatory tone.
"[We’re] all different because we can’t always understand each other. But for as long as we listen to each other, all is good when you listen to other people,” he said.
"So that’s what I’m thinking about, that it could be a good rapport between me and the Church and the people, all our brothers and sisters, the Muslim, the Moro in Mindanao, we all need to talk."
Vidal and Duterte met in Malacañang during the first days of the latter's presidency.
The late cardinal described the firebrand leader as "simple and easy to talk to."
Vidal, who served as archbishop of Cebu for nearly three decades, passed away on October 18 due to complications from pneumonia. He was 86.
Vidal was the oldest of 4 cardinals in the Philippines. The other cardinals are Manila Archbishop Emeritus Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle and Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo.
Vidal served as a priest for 61 years, nearly 3 decades of which he served as archbishop of Cebu before he retired in 2011.