The Daily Manila Shimbun


Bishops says they answer to the Pope, not to Duterte

January 25, 2017

Bishops said they are answerable to Pope Francis and not to President Rodrigo Duterte who attacked the Catholic Church Tuesday.

Duterte even offered to resign if the "filthiness" he has been accusing of the bishops is not true.

But if his allegations were true, all prelates should quit, Duterte said in a speech in Malacanang where he met the families of the slain police commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25, 2015.

"We have the same filthiness," except that the prelates, aside from being womanizers, were also corrupt, he said.  Duterte said he is not corrupt, but he is a womanizer.

"I challenge you (Catholic) Bishops Conference (of the Philippines), let us all resign tomorrow, simultaneously, ok? I will deliver my resignation on bended knees. I will put it on Rizal (monument) in Luneta," said Duterte as he showed a book entitled, "Altar of Secrets" written by the late Aries Rufo, a veteran reporter.

"I challenge you now, I challenge the Catholic Church. You are full of shit," Duterte said as he recalled the Pajero vehicle given by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to some bishops.

In separate interviews, Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles and Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos said they do not heed his call.

“Bishops are not voted upon by nor chosen by the people. They are appointed by the Holy See. Resignation of bishops must be submitted to and accepted by the Holy See. I resign if Romethinks I am no longer trustworthy,” said Arguelles.

“We, bishops, have our mandate from God, appointed by the Holy Father. We can only resign to the Pope, not to anyone, even to a President,” said Santos.

Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco and Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes shrugged off the comments of Duterte.

"These are mere words uttered thoughtlessly, not worthy of consideration. He is fond of talking nonsense," said Bastes.

“He is entitled to his opinion.” said Ongtioco.

But Arguelles said he agrees with Duterte that bishops or priests  must resign from their posts if they are found guilty of committing abuses.

“A bishop or priest, who is guilty of serious offense, should indeed resign if their continued stay in their position harms the Church and the faithful,” said Arguelles. DMS