The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), under Lingayen Archbishop Socrates Villegas, has spoken and has painted an evil picture of presidential candidate, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
This, after Duterte had titillated the public with his colorful speech, during the launching of his candidacy by the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban (PDP-Laban) in Taguig City, confessing openly to the people his personal love life, describing his political life in battling drug menace and criminality so Davao City could be a safe and peaceful place to live, and even recounting how the monstrous traffic in Manila during Pope Francis’ visit strained his bladder to the limit that he had peed into a bottle to relieve himself.
After Duterte’s patented hemming and hewing about his presidential run and the reasons he has given every time he procrastinated, until the Senate Electoral Tribunal’s (SET) ‘political’ decision conveniently allowing Sen. Grace Poe to remain in the Senate and to run for president finally displeased and shoved him to enter the presidential derby in 2016, we should all know by now who Duterte is – warts and all!
Unfortunately the virtuous, the self-righteous and the holier-than-thou among us, especially those from the CBCP, took offense at the statements of Duterte, interpreting them as vulgar, profane and corrupting.
I say some people are simply losing their sense of humor over Duterte’s candidacy.
Duterte has always been tough and clownish at best and at worst, rude and uncouth, and that is who he is and who he has been all these years. What you see is what you get from the man and that is acknowledged and recognized by people. These are traits that have made him popular and endearing to the people.
What is happening, however, is that Duterte’s pronouncements are being blown out of proportion making him appear vulgar and dishonorable and, therefore, unpresidentiable, in deeds and words.
Take for instance the issue that seems to bother the CBCP hierarchy a lot, where Villegas accused Duterte for cussing Pope Francis when he got caught in a monstrous traffic during the Pope’s visit to the country in January.
Would Duterte, while known for his expletives, act so wickedly as to curse the Pope directly or was he just telling a story and exaggeratingly making fun of the occasion just to elicit laughter from the people?
Was it meant for the Pope or was it more a stab at the Aquino administration?
“I sincerely express sadness and regret that the part of my speech mentioning Pope Francis in relation to the monstrous traffic gridlock in January came across as being disrespectful to his Holiness Pope Francis. It was farthest from my mind and was never my intention,” Duterte said in a statement.
“I acknowledge that I should have explained better my point on the traffic gridlock. My strong statement on the incompetence of those in government to address the traffic problem was my expression of anger borne out of the helplessness of the millions of commuters suffering from this daily gridlock,” he added.
What more is there to doubt Duterte’s admiration and respect for the Pope?
It’s a pity Villegas overreacted by issuing the following unfavorable statement instead of reading well between the lines whether or not Duterte debased the Pope.
“When a revered and loved and admired man like Pope Francis is cursed by a political candidate and the audience laugh, I can only bow my head and grieve in great shame. My countrymen have gone to the dregs.”
It is bad enough for Villegas to be judgmental, but it is even worst that he allowed himself to fall into a trap where the healing wounds of Catholic priest’s child abuse issue is once again threatened to be opened up by Duterte.