I do not know how else to interpret it, but I think when Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle delivered his sermon on Palm Sunday, March 25th, about “arrogant and violent kings” he must have had in mind President Rodrigo Duterte.
“In our world today, we have many kings who are full of arrogance, bereft of humility. Today, many follow the kings who use violence, arms, and intimidation, so devoid of understanding and solidarity with the weak,” the archbishop stressed.
“Our king does not trust in violence, weapons, bullets and guns. Our king trust in God,” he added.
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo may have just been acting civil towards Tagle when he said he believed the cardinal was not referring to Duterte, as one of those “arrogant and violent kings”, but to other world leaders.
What kings and why should we be talking about other world leaders when we have our very own, in the person of Duterte, who has been demonized by no less than the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, the human rights advocates and the holier-than-thou members of the political opposition for his bloody war on drugs and the much ballyhooed extra-judicial killings, which allegedly has the president’s blessing?
We all have heard how Tagle speaks and when he makes his homilies, like that on Palm Sunday, he does it theatrically because he wants to create an impact so people would wonder what the allegory is all about and how it is affecting the nation.
But for those of us who have been following the political events in our country all these years, we also know that Duterte has been the overwhelming choice of majority of Filipinos to lead us and make a difference after years and years of ineffective and failed leadership.
As president, Duterte has not been acting arrogantly and violently, but his unconventional or non-traditional style of leadership, coupled with his intestinal fortitude to implement political will without fear and favor, not to mention his use of colorful language, has always been interpreted as his knack for arrogance and violence.
How wrong Tagle and his cohorts in the church hierarchy can be.
Duterte knows whereof he speaks about the problems of the country and the wherewithal of his actions and he continues to have the support and trust of the majority of the Filipino people.
Duterte is not acting like king and he very well knows his God.
In fact Duterte’s Holy Week message urging Filipinos to revitalize their faith and renew their relationship with God and fellow countrymen by rekindling their religious fervor and cherish their time-honored traditions as a pious people is something that the leaders of the country’s Catholic Church should reflect on at the man they think is the embodiment of evil.