By Genalyn Kabiling
Under fire for his criticisms of the Catholic faith, President Duterte admitted Tuesday that he was deliberately “shaking the tree” and pushing the limits of his rude statements in public.
The President said he wanted to awaken the country “in doldrums” as he hit back at groups that do nothing but criticize the government.
“Sinasadya ko ‘yan eh [I’m intentionally doing it]. You know why? This country is in a doldrums. I’m shaking the tree para mabuhay lahat para makita ko [to wake everyone up so I can see],” Duterte said before an assembly of barangay captains in Zamboanga del Sur.
“Pati ‘yung mga salita ko bastos. I’m trying to go to the boundaries of hanggang saan [Even my words are rude. I’m trying to go the boundaries of how far I can go],” he added.
Duterte claimed that his critics think they were brighter than everyone else but offer no solution to the country’s problems.
The President has provoked an outrage from Church leaders and lawmakers after calling God “stupid.” Duterte, a Catholic-educated leader, was puzzled why the Lord created a perfect world of Adam and Eve only to allow them to give in to temptation.
Palace officials have defended Duterte, saying he has the right to express his beliefs.
In his speech in Zamboanga, the President maintained that he believes in God, but not the “stupid” God worshipped by his critics in the Catholic Church.
“My God is my God. I have a God. He is the universal mine. Para I picture him as a too powerful a God,” he said.
Duterte explained that his “stupid God” comment was related to his frustration with a foreign church worker who has criticized his government. He was alluding to Australian missionary nun Patricia Fox, who faces deportation proceedings over alleged involvement in partisan political activities.
Duterte said he could accept insults and criticisms from Filipinos but not foreigners who are merely visiting the country.
“I could not take a citizen of another country or a tourist na nagbu-b*** s*** sa akin. You do not have that right. You ain’t paying any salary to me and you are a visitor in my country so shut up,” he said.
“Why do they exercise a right that is reserved for the citizens? Eh sinasadya ko. So your God is not my God. Kasi ‘yung God mo, stupid. Kasi ‘yan ang binabandera mo,” he added.
The President’s latest comments came just a few hours after creating a three-man panel to conduct a dialogue with Catholic Church and other religious groups to try to mend ties following his controversial remarks about religion.