Pubdate: Thu, 19 Jan 2017
Source: Philippine Star (Philippines)
Copyright: PhilSTAR Daily Inc. 2017
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)
Author: Alexis Romero


[photo] In this Nov. 26, 2016 photo, President Rodrigo Duterte gestures as
he delivers his keynote address during the San Beda College of Law Alumni
Homecoming at the Shangri-La Hotel in Taguig City. (PPD/King Rodriguez)

MANILA, Philippines - President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday dug up old
controversies including the so-called Pajero scandal and clergy sexual
abuse in his latest tirade against the Catholic Church, which has been
raising concerns over the spate of killings linked to his war on drugs.

Duterte said the religious group of more than 80 percent of Filipinos, has
no moral ascendancy to criticize his narcotics crackdown because it also
has its own share of sins.

"You expose me, fine. I expose you. Why? When you commit mistakes, it's
okay but when we do, no? B*s*. That's stupid," the president said during
the oath taking of newly promoted police officials at Malacanan.

"What is your moral ascendancy in the Philippines? Religion? What is the
meaning of it? Hindi kayo nakakatulong, daldal kayo nang daldal (You do
not help us. You just keep on talking)," he added.

Duterte cited the issue involving bishops who allegedly asked former
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to provide them luxury vehicles.

"Remember you asked vehicles from Gloria? Knowing fully well that the
policemen have no vehicles. You had Pajero, you sons of b," the president

"You were given vehicles knowing that there is a principle of separation
between Church and State. It was sheer, purely graft and corruption
because you did not deserve it. You cannot use property or money for your
comfort. That is not for you but for the government but you had the gall,"
he added.

In 2011, then Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) chairperson
Margarita Juico revealed that some Catholic bishops got Pajero sports
utility vehicles supposedly in exchange for their support for Arroyo.

Juico eventually apologized to the Senate after it was learned that the
bishops did not get Pajeros but utility vehicles, which were then used to
conduct humanitarian missions. The bishops returned the vehicles to the
PCSO, with one of them admitting to have committed a lapse of judgment
when he asked Arroyo for a vehicle as a birthday gift in 2009.

Duterte also questioned the supposed failure of the church to explain how
donations given during masses were used.

"What did the church do? The Catholic Church earns millions every week all
throughout the Philippines. There are many churches. Where is the money of
the people?" the president said.

"We explain how we use our funds to the people. You? Priests and bishops,
you wear fancy clothes, you have vehicles. Do you have a house, even with
just five rooms, for rehab? What did your church do?" he added.

"You count money instead of going around the neighborhoods, explaining to
the people why they should not be in that industry because they will die.
Now you want the killings to end? All you have to do is to preach because
most of the people here are Catholics."

Earlier, the Catholic Church announced that it would work with local
governments to establish rehabilitation centers. One of the
church-initiated programs aimed at addressing the drug problem is the
Sanlakbay Para sa Pagbabagong Buhay, which was launched last October.

Duterte also cited the clergy sex abuse hounding the Catholic Church as
well and the illicit affairs of some priests. The president revealed last
year that he was sexually molested by a priest when he was young.

"You asked for it. If you want a showdown, then let's have a showdown. You
mend your ways. If you cannot even give justice to the small boys that you
have molested in the past, you do not have that moral ascendancy to
lecture (me) on what to do. Sanctity of life? You're enjoying your worth,"
the president said.

"When we were young, I talked to cabinet members. When we were making
confessions to you, we were being molested," he added.

Duterte also scored alleged homosexual acts happening inside seminaries
and the alleged failure of the Church to improve the plight of its

"What will you do with the homosexuality in your seminaries? What have you
done to the children there? Did you investigate us? Mga lee kayo (You
fools)," he said.

"You are in palaces while your faithful are in squatters areas and then
you talk about sanctity? Look at your mirror."

Duterte encouraged the public to read "Altar of Secrets," a book by the
late journalist Aries Rufo published in 2013 that discussed the
corruption, sexual abuses and other controversies that rocked the
Philippine Catholic Church.

Last Wednesday, Duterte said priests should try shabu so they can
understand the seriousness of the drug problem.
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