President Rodrigo Duterte paused for less than a minute as church bells tolled during a speech in Cabatuan town in Iloilo on Wednesday.
The President was talking about the illicit affiars of the priests when the bells suddenly tolled.
“It’s the tolling of the bells,” he said, then remained silent for 46 seconds.
“Is that Angelus? Is that for me? To the Catholics here, let’s pray. The priest might get angry,” he added.
The President, who has cursed priests and the Catholic Church, explained why he kept silent, saying: “You know, I do not want to create a scene, but you know I have my duty. I am a Christian and I believe in God, I respect the tolling of the bells.”
The Catholic Church has earned the President’s ire of Duterte for criticizing his policies, especially his brutal war on drugs.
Amid the spate on killing of priests, criticks said Duterte’s attacks on the Church has emboldened killers to kill priests.
“Wala kaming policy na galit kami sa pari. Nothing of that sort. As a matter of fact nirerespeto ko ‘yung Simbahan. Ang akin lang mahinto lang itong a few bishops na medyo ‘yung sabi na nili-link nila ang gobyerno [to the killings],” he said.
“Sa totoo lang, hindi ko kayang magpatay ng pari, pati babae, bata,” he added.
The President was in Cabatuan to lead the distribution of 3,772 Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) to agrarian reform beneficiaries in the Western Visayas region in a ceremony at the Cabatuan Covered Gym. /atm
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