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Palace tells Balanga bishop: Pray for Duterte instead

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By Genalyn Kabiling

Malacañang has urged a Catholic bishop who called President Duterte a disgrace to the nation to just pray for the Chief Executive to govern well instead of lambasting him.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo turned the tables on Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos, saying the “unsavory language” coming from a clergymen was actually a disgrace.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)

“We are sad with the remarks of Balanga, Bataan Bishop Ruperto Santos that the Duterte presidency is a disgrace to the country, especially coming from a man of the cloth,” Panelo said.

“The good bishop of Balanga should pray for the President, the way we pray for the Bishop’s enlightenment, that PRRD may run the affairs of the country well instead of lambasting him. As we repeatedly said, we are all parts of one whole, the success of President Duterte is the success of the whole nation,” he added.

Santos, speaking on Church-run Radio Veritas, recently said the Duterte presidency was “a disappointment and disgrace to our country.” He was commenting on Duterte’s remarks asking street idlers to kill or rob rich bishops.

Panelo, however, hit back at the bishop for his supposed disgraceful action. He said it was “very unfortunate” that Santos failed to follow Christ’s teaching that “if someone throws a stone at you, throw a piece of bread at him in response.”

“What is a disgrace is when a member of the clergy uses unsavoury language against President Rodrigo Roa Duterte who only fulfills and complies with his constitutional mandate to lead the government in serving the Filipinos and protecting them from what bedevils our society,” he said.

He also drew sharp contrast between the President and the bishop, saying Duterte sees a person’s goodness.

“Like the Bishop, the President is imperfect, but unlike him PRRD looks at the innate goodness of man,” he said.

“The President who could have preferred retirement and enjoy its bliss opted to rise to the challenge of the times and at the commencement of his presidency has waged a war against all fronts of illegality in the country,” he added.

He also said the bishop was uninformed or was ignoring survey results showing the President’s high public trust and approval ratings.

“The President’s most recent approval and trust ratings show that the Filipino people whom PRRD is duty-bound to serve and protect is highly appreciative of the Chief Executive and his brand of leadership,” he said.

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