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Duterte violates ‘moratorium’ on criticisms against church

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By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter

A day after he agreed to a moratorium on his statements about the Catholic Church, President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Tuesday, July 10, rehashed his widely-criticized remarks, stressing anew that his “God is not stupid.”

Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque, Jr. said last Monday that the President, during his meeting with Davao Archbishop and Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Romulo G. Valles, “agreed to a moratorium on statements about the church.”

The meeting between Mr. Duterte and the Catholic Church leader took place a couple of hours after the CBCP issued a pastoral letter urging the faithful to join them next week in a three-day prayer and fasting for “those who have blasphemed God’s Holy Name, those who slander and bear false witness, and those who commit murder or justify murder as a means for fighting criminality in our country.”

In his speech in Pampanga on Tuesday evening, Mr. Duterte said: “There is a separation of powers, why are you f***ing the name of the Lord against me?”

He also said, “When you use God to say that I’d go to hell, you know my God never created hell. Because if he created hell, he must be stupid God. My God is not stupid to create man just to burn him in hell… I do not believe in heaven because if I do, only a fraction of you in this crowd will ever enter in heaven…”

In a media interview after his speech, Mr. Duterte confirmed that he agreed during his meeting with Mr. Valles that he will no longer talk about the Church and God.

“Yeah, [but] I’m not attacking the Church. What I said was if you use religion as a format, I was not referring to any religion, kasi marami naman dyan (because there are many) Christian Evangelists meron gusto akong kausapin (there who want to talk to me). Dahil dyan (Because of that,) I cannot mention their name(s). They wanted to see me. But if it is matter of me asking for forgiveness, forget it. As a matter of principle, I will not and I can burn in hell if it is true,” he said.