Rodrigo Duterte
President Rodrigo Duterte prays during the mass at the wedding of Waldo and Regine Carpio at San Agustin Church in Intramurous, Manila on September 16, 2017.
King Rodriguez/PPD, file
Duterte: I believe in God and I fear karma
( - April 18, 2019 - 11:51am

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday he believes in God and is afraid of karma, in an apparent break from his tirades against the Christian faith.

“I assure you I believe in God and I’m afraid of karma,” Duterte said in a mix of English and Filipino in a speech in Batangas City on the week of Easter.

The hugely popular Duterte has repeatedly locked horns with the Church — which has a significant political and social clout in the predominantly Catholic Philippines — amid mounting deaths in the government’s bloody war on drugs.

In a previous speech Tuesday, the firebrand leader raised anew his objections to Christians’ concept of heaven and hell and poked fun at Catholics’ sacrament of penance.

“Kaya ako hindi nagsisimba. Kasi ’pag magsimba ako, ‘Forgive me, father, for I have killed last night three.’ Balik na naman ako kinabukasan, ‘Father, forgive me because I have killed 10 drug lords.’ Pabalik-balik ako, bakit pa ako magpunta doon? Useless,” he said.

(That’s why I don’t go to church. Because If I go to church, ‘Forgive me, father, for I have killed last night three.’ Then I will go back to church the next day, ‘Father, forgive me because I have killed 10 drug lords.’ It won’t end so why would I return there? Useless.)

Duterte, who is known for his crude language, earlier sparked public outrage in Asia’s biggest Catholic nation after he called the Christian God a “stupid son of a bitch” for creating Adam and Eve only to allow their purity to be destroyed by temptation.

Amid simmering backlash, Duterte vowed to immediately resign if Christians can prove that their God exists through a selfie. He later issued a public apology and told religious leaders to “never use the name of God as a front to attack government.” — Ian Nicolas Cigaral

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