Palma refuses to pass judgment on Duterte

(The Freeman) - December 1, 2015 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Everyone deserves respect whether he may be the Holy Pope or not.

 This is according to Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma when sought for comment on the expletive thrown by presidential aspirant and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte against Pope Francis which stirred up debates on social media and earned him the ire of many Catholics.

 In his proclamation as the official standard-bearer of Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) on Monday, Duterte reportedly cursed the Roman Pontiff after he got caught in a traffic jam in Manila last January.

 Duterte recalled it took him five hours to get to the airport and was told that the roads were closed for the papal visit.

“Sabi ko, ‘Sinong darating?’ Sabi si Pope. Gusto kong tawagan, ‘Pope, p——- ka, umuwi ka na. ‘Wag ka nang bumisita dito,” Duterte said in jest.

Palma, for his part, said the people may criticize the actions of a person but the person himself deserves respect as a child of God and as a human being.

 He also said as a general rule, anybody who speaks against the person of the Holy Father should think twice as the Pope is no ordinary individual.

“Generally, knowing the stature of the Pope, he will find many who will consider it poor taste,” he said.

 Palma described Pope Francis as a humble person, who confesses his sinfulness, asks for prayers, shows his love for the poor and expresses his love for the Philippines.

 “Personally having met the Pope myself, I share the comments of millions of the people. And I think he is a blessing to the Church, a gift to the world, in terms of being the present successor of Peter,” he said.

 Palma also concurred with the statement of Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines president Archbishop Socrates Villegas who said Duterte’s expletive spewed at Pope Francis caused him "great shame."

 "When a revered and loved and admired man like Pope Francis is cursed by a political candidate and the audience laugh, I can only bow my head and grieve in great shame. My countrymen has gone to the dregs," Villegas said.

Villegas, in a statement posted on the CBCP Facebook account, said the leaders that the public choose for national progress must be visionaries and exemplary.

 Villegas stressed that corruption is “indeed a great scourge” in Philippine politics, citing that vulgarity is also a form of corruption.

 "Vulgarity is corruption. When we find vulgarity funny, we have really become beastly and barbaric as a people,” he said,

 Palma said it is now up to the electorate to decide whether Duterte deserves to be elected as the leader of the country after what he said.

“Is he worthy to be voted as a candidate kay nagpakita man ni nato sa atong personality. I throw the ball sa electorate sa paghuna-huna if this is the kind of leader that we want,” he said.

Palma also said the admission of Duterte for being a womanizer and for using expletives may be a form of humility for some but may be improper for others.

“Your own assessment may be as good as mine. Judge for yourself,” he said.

But for some Cebu officials and candidates in the 2016 elections, Duterte is the man.

“He is a Cebuano, I would go for Duterte. This perhaps another chance for a Cebuano as president,” said Fourth District Representative Benhur Salimbangon.

Salimbangon said the biggest chunk of the country’s budget remains in Metro Manila.

“We need somebody who will look at Cebu from his heart, I see it from Duterte,” Salimbangon said.

One Cebu vice gubernatorial candidate and former congresswoman Nerissa Soon-Ruiz is also inclined to support Duterte.

    “Maawayan ta sa atong kaigsuonang Sugbuanon kung adto ta sa lain mosuporta,” Soon-Ruiz said. — (FREEMAN)

ACIRC ARCHBISHOP SOCRATES VILLEGAS CATHOLIC BISHOPS CONFERENCE OF THE PHILIPPINES CEBU CEBU ARCHBISHOP JOSE PALMA CEBUANO DUTERTE NBSP POPE POPE FRANCIS VILLEGAS
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