It’s Duterte who’s stupid


IT’S A SHAME for a predominantly Christian country to have a president who fosters the culture of violence, peddles lies, and calls God “stupid.” Apparently wanting to take a potshot at Catholic bishops, clergy and religious who have protested his strong-arm tactics, hate speech, and anti-poor policies, he called God stupid for allegedly allowing Adam and Eve to eat the fruit from the forbidden tree thus causing their banishment from the Garden of Eden.

But it is President Duterte who’s really stupid. Not realizing he was the embodiment of the Gospel injunction against looking at the speck of sawdust in the eye of another, but paying no attention to the plank of one’s own, he committed the oversight that the Genesis story is believed not only by Catholics but also by non-Catholic Christians, some of whom form part of his wobbly political base.

As a result of Duterte’s mockery of the doctrine of the original sin, many non-Catholic Christians not only have distanced themselves from him, but also abandoned him altogether. His spokesman, Harry Roque Jr, tried to arrest the erosion of support for his boss and, trying to strike the pose of an Iglesia ni Cristo minister but ending up much like Hannibal Lecter posed for one his delicious serial kills, defended the President, saying Duterte was entitled to express his own opinion on religion. Roque thus reaffirmed that Duterte has the right to ridicule Christianity and even Islam, since even Muslims accept the Old Testament.

We must therefore correct our headline. It’s not Duterte alone who’s stupid, but also Roque.

But Filipinos, especially Catholics, should not take lightly Duterte’s blasphemy. The Varsitarian shares the view of the pastoral message last June of Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, in which he wrote that the attacks to the Church
were similar to what happened in the High Middle Ages when St. Thomas Becket was murdered by blind fanatics of King Henry II, who had called the archbishop of Canterbury a “meddlesome priest.” The big difference, however, is that King Henry II became penitent for the murder while the “king” in this country “remains undisturbed.” He even encourages violence, allows thousands of killings and declares he killed four persons while he was mayor of Davao.

Anti-Catholic and hate-filled

His tirades against the Church began when the Catholic bishops slammed him for his bloody war on drugs that resulted in the killing of more than 12,000 (and counting) drug
suspects. When the Church carried out its prophetic mission and called the Duterte administration’s term a “reign of terror,” Duterte spewed profanities against the institution, calling it “full of shit” or having officials who are “corrupt and womanizers,” as if that is a relevant and legitimate criticism that gives priests no right to speak against his tyrannical, bloody government.

Not surprisingly, violence against the clergy and religious has increased in the past several months. Last year, Fr. Marcelito Paez, a retired Thomasian priest and a land reform activist, was shot dead in Santo Domingo, Nueva Ecija by motorcycle-riding suspects who remain at large. Former Catholic priest Aldrin Aganan, a Catholic lay worker in Masbate, was shot by two unidentified gunmen in March. Last May, Fr. Mark Ventura, another alumnus of the UST Central Seminary, was shot dead in Cagayan after saying Mass. Last June 10, Fr. Richmond Nilo, actively involved in Catholic apologetics, was gunned down in front of the altar of Mayamot chapel in Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija.

In all of this, Duterte has taken the stance of putting his imprimatur on the violence. In the case of Father Ventura, he went on expressing in so many words his approval of the killing,
alleging that the Cagayan priest had had several illicit affairs with local women. Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David promptly upbraided the President, saying that murder is
murder no matter the motivation.

Tuguegarao Archbishop Sergio Utleg said Ventura’s death was caused by a “failed system” that tolerated killings, violence, and impunity.

The Duterte administration has even bullied an Australian missionary nun, Sister Patricia Fox, and called for her deportation. The deportation is opposed by the Association of Major
Religious Superiors in the Philippines co-chaired by a Thomasian, Sister Regina Kuizon, provincial of the Good Shepherd sisters.

The 71-year-old head of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion has spent 27 years in the country helping poor farmers and other oppressed workers. But Duterte would have none of “meddlesome” religious like Sister Patricia. Labeling her as an “undesirable alien,” Duterte
admitted to ordering the arrest of Fox for allegedly engaging in political activities and “trampling with our sovereignty.”

What sovereignty is he talking about? Is it the sovereignty Duterte has ceded to totalitarian and anti-God communist China that has occupied and militarized several islands right on Philippine waters? The sheer stupidity of it all!

With evil and violence fostered by this demonic administration, it is only appropriate for the Church to launch a crusade for freedom and respect for religion and for the defense of the oppressed and the voiceless. The specter of martial law is back and perhaps it’s worse
now: we see looming in the horizon nothing less than a conspiracy between the diabolical Duterte and totalitarian, anti-God China! But as the martyrdom of Archbishop Becket and the rise of Solidarity in Poland and the subsequent fall of Communist Europe should show,
the Catholic Church shall prevail in the end.


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