Church could join Maoist plot to oust Duterte – Malacañang

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By Daniel Llanto i FilAm Star Correspondent

A high-ranking Catholic Church leader subtly compared President Duterte to Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini in reaction to aMalacañang spokesman who previously said that some church leaders could back a Communist plot to oust Duterte.

Just days after Malacañangdenied that the Catholic Church is part of an ouster move against Duterte, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said some of its members could,indeed partner with Maoist rebels to topple Duterte as president.

Roque voiced this official stand as Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo slammed Duterte and told the faithful not to blame God for having him as the nation’s leader.

In a blog post, Pabillo said Duterte’s election was not God’s will, in response to the question “Why did God give us Duterte?” which he claimed was raised in an e-mail.

“We cannot say vox populi, vox Dei that is, the voice of the people is the voice of God. Not necessarily,” he stressed.“God did not give us Duterte to be our president. The 16 million voters chose him to be President and he is now President,” Pabillo pointed out.

Pabillo explained that in a democracy, leaders are not divinely ordained but elected by the people as he even cited dictators in history.

“Many very bad leaders had been elected by their people. Let us just name (Adolf) Hitler, (Benito) Mussolini and even our (Ferdinand) Marcos. They came to power by election.

Duterte was elected by 16 million voters, not even the majority of our 50 million voters in 2016. He is not even a majority president,” the bishop said.

The prelate recalled that the Church cautioned the people about Duterte’s track record of killings in Davao, about his use of foul language, about his lack of respect for human rights and for women during the 2016 polls.

The bishop’s diatribe against Duterte came amid efforts for a dialogue to settle issues between the President and the Catholic Church following Duterte’s earlier remark that God is “stupid.” Pabillo seemed unwilling to support such reconciliation.

Bishop Pabillo said the Catholic Church has a worldwide history of anti-communism and in its Catechism holds that it “has rejected the totalitarian and atheistic ideologies associated in modem times with ‘communism’ or ‘socialism.’”

Roque claimed that some members of the Catholic Church could not accept the defeat of their preferred candidate, whom he did not name.

“The criticisms of the Church started when its candidate lost during the elections. Let’s be frank: Many in the Church could not accept that their candidate was a loser,” he said at a media conference in Southern Leyte.

Earlier, Roque expressed disbelief when Pastor “Boy” Saycon, a member of a four-member panel formed by Duterte for conciliatory talkswith Church officials, revealed that some members of the clergy could be behind efforts to remove Duterte from power.

Saycon said that the Catholic Church could be used to destabilize the Duterte administration. Saycon said the Catholic Church has “radical members.” He clarified though that in general the leadership of the Church does not meddle in such issues.

But Saycon insisted that the destabilization plot against Duterte was real.

When asked if the Palace shared Saycon’s suspicions, Roque answered at a press briefing in the Palace, “No, no. In the first place, the President is secure with his faith. The church is secure with its mission in the nation. We just want the two institutions to serve our society better.”

Roque sang a different tune in Southern Leyte. “It’s not far-fetched that some of them will join the CPP-NPA to oust President Duterte,” he said.

He said the date of the planned dialogue between the Church and Malacañangcould be announced soon, following Foreign Undersecretary Ernesto Abella, Saycon and his meeting with the papal nuncio to celebrate the Pope’s Day on July 6.

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