In this file photo, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo speaks at a forum in Bonifacio Global City. On Tuesday, he hit back at Balanga, Bataan Bishop Ruperto Santos who earlier said that the Duterte presidency is a disgrace to the country. Leandicho
Palace hits Balanga bishop for ‘lambasting’ Duterte
Gaea Katreena Cabico ( - January 15, 2019 - 1:57pm

MANILA, Philippines — The bishop of Balanga, Bataan should pray for President Rodrigo Duterte instead of criticizing his pronouncements, Malacañang said Tuesday.

“We are sad with the remarks of Balanga, Bataan Bishop Ruperto Santos that the Duterte presidency is a disgrace to the country, especially coming from a man of the cloth,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.

This, after Bishop Ruperto Santos condemned the supposed joke of the chief executive to rob and kill rich bishops, saying the statement promotes criminality and encourages lawlessness.

“It is immoral authority and does not respect life and teaches wrong values. If he does it with bishops, how much more to ordinary citizens? What kind of head of state who encourages killing!” Santos said.

He added: “His presidency is a disappointment to us and disgrace to the country. It is known as ‘kill, kill, kill.’ And we totally speak, stand against it. We reject and condemn what he says.”

But for Panelo, it was the bishop who committed “disgrace” when he criticized Duterte.

“The president who could have preferred retirement and enjoy its bliss to rise to the challenge of the times and at the commencement of his presidency has waged a war against all fronts of illegality in the country,” Panelo said.

He added: “What is a disgrace is when a member of the clergy uses unsavory language against President Rodrigo Duterte who only fulfills and complies with his constitutional mandate to lead the government in serving the Filipinos and protecting them from what bedevils our society.”

The presidential spokesperson advised Santos to pray that Duterte may run the country’s affairs well “instead of lambasting him.”

Panelo on Monday said the president is still open to having a dialogue with the Catholic Church despite his constant attacks on its leadership and the faith.

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