Bacani recently dared Duterte to emulate bishops and walk around without bodyguards, guns and bulletproof vests after the President had asked bystanders to rob and kill “moneyed” bishops.
Edd Gumban
Palace nixes bishop’s dare on Duterte
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - January 17, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang yesterday rejected Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani Jr.’s  challenge for President Duterte to walk around without security aides and urged the clergyman to be more “judicious” in making statements to avoid being embarrassed.

Bacani recently dared Duterte to emulate bishops and walk around without bodyguards, guns and bulletproof vests after the President had asked bystanders to rob and kill “moneyed” bishops.

Officials have claimed that Duterte’s remark, which has sparked outrage among Catholics, was meant to highlight the clergymen’s supposed failure to practice what they preach.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said Bacani’s challenge was “outright silly,” “childish” and “absurd.” He said the challenge was made “with the sole purpose of getting publicity for the challenger.”

“(President Duterte) would have loved to accept the challenge but security protocols are observed for his protection as President – a position carrying awesome responsibilities requiring him to attend to the problems of the nation. A position that the good bishop has never held and might never assume in his lifetime,” Panelo said in a statement.

“The President does not have to prove anything about his being a courageous and selfless public servant,” he added.

Panelo said Duterte had patroled Davao City alone when he was mayor and even disguised as a taxi driver to go after criminals who preyed on citizens at night. He said Duterte also went around the city alone on his motorcycle to examine the happenings around his turf at a time when Davao City was a “killing field.”

Panelo likewise claimed that Duterte had offered his life in exchange for the freedom of a hostage victim.

“Such gutsy reputation precedes him and is one of the reasons which enthralled the Filipino masses who longed for a strong and decisive action man as their country’s top leader which they have not experienced with his predecessor,” the presidential spokesman said.

“We thus ask the good bishop to be more judicious when it comes to oratories against the President, especially when it comes to challenging the latter in his element, so as to avoid being embarrassed,” he added.

Duterte has been at odds with the Catholic Church because some bishops have been expressing alarm over his war on illegal drugs, which has so far left more than 5,000 suspects dead. More than 80 percent of Filipinos adhere to the Catholic faith, which was brought to the Philippines by the Spaniards in 1521.

TEODORO BACANI JR.
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