President Rodrigo Duterte will not launch a series of tirades against the Catholic Church without any basis, Malacañang said on Sunday.
In an interview with dzIQ, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said it is no secret that Duterte has “personal” grievances against Catholic Church leaders.
“‘Yun namang kaniyang pag-banat, palagi namang may base. Hindi naman siya bumabanat ng walang batayan. Saka yung kanya, based on personal experience, yung banat niya (His attacks always have a basis. He does not criticize without basis. And his tirades are based on personal experience),” he said.
During the celebration of the 120-year existence of Baptist churches in the Philippines on Thursday, Duterte took pride that he was the “first” politician who spoke against the leaders of the Catholic Church for their supposed abuses.
Duterte has persistently slammed the Catholic Church, which is critical of his administration’s policies and programs, including the anti-narcotics campaign.
He has also revealed that he was once a victim of sexual abuse by a priest when he was young.
The Chief Executive attempted to mend ties with the Catholic Church when he created on June 25, 2018 a four-man panel that is tasked to hold a dialogue with various religious groups.
However, the committee seemed to have failed to reconcile with the leaders of the Catholic Church.
Despite his verbal attacks against the Catholic Church, Duterte on Thursday said he has “deep and abiding faith in God.”
Duterte’s sour relationship with the Catholic Church is not tantamount to his disbelief in God, his spokesman said.
Panelo said the Chief Executive believed that everyone is child of “one God”.
“Palaging sinasabi niya eh tayong lahat, ay anak ng isang pangkalahatang Diyos na isa lamang naman ang tinuturo sa ating lahat, magmahalan tayo, ‘yun ang tinuturo sa atin (He always says that all of us are children of one God, and that God teaches us to love each other. That’s the teaching of the Lord),” Panelo said.
Duterte, for the first time, is scheduled to lead the Sinulog festival in Cebu City on Sunday afternoon.
The Sinulog festival, a religious festival held every third Sunday of January, honors the Santo Niño, or the Child Jesus, through a dance ritual. (PNA)