At least three Filipino Catholic bishops have welcomed President Duterte’s recent wish to develop good rapport with the church leaders.
Bishop Teodoro Bacani, retired bishop of Novaliches, expressing his happiness said it was a good start but the President must listen to God’s word and respect every human life and treat all with dignity.
For Archbishop Martin Jumoad of Ozamiz, this would create a good impact on his image, however good relationship among the leaders is obligatory for a country’s progress.
While Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon observed that the president’s peace proposal did not mean that they will have to give up their role as "prophets." Instead he reminded all people and the government officials to respect the rights of God, of man and of nature. For the bishop the violations of "God's law and the law of nature" would hinder "true rapport" between the government and church leaders.
Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal passed away at the age of 86 on October 18 due to complications from pneumonia. President Duterte who paid his last respects to the Cardinal on Oct 23, said he liked to give due importance to the death of Cardinal Vidal who spent his life championing peace and reconciliation in the country and assured to sign an executive order declaring October 26, the burial day of Vidal, as a holiday in Cebu. Later he also expressed that he would like to develop “good rapport” with the Church leaders, a statement which is in contrast to his oft-repeated tirades against priests and bishops who criticize his war against drugs.
According to government statistics, there have been close to 12,000 deaths since the president's war against narcotics was launched last year, a move the church leaders have condemned forthright. (UCAN)