By Genalyn Kabiling
Malacañang has expressed doubts about the death threats allegedly received by Caloocan Bishop Pablo David, saying it could be fabricated.
“Dapat imbestigahan iyan kung totoo. Pero ako, tingin ko gawa-gawa lang iyang mga threat na iyan [It should be investigated if it is true. But I think those threats are fabricated],” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a radio interview.
Panelo also suspected that someone might just be pulling a prank on the priest, or that the opposition could be behind it.
“Puwedeng hindi totoong may threat, puwedeng may nagloloko lang sa kanya or puwede rin naman na sa kalaban nanggagaling iyan [The threat may not be real, someone was kidding him or it might come from our opponents],” he said.
David, a critic of Duterte’s brutal war on drugs, reportedly skipped the Ka Pepe Diokno Human Rights Awards in Manila due to concerns his life was in danger. He reportedly claimed receiving text messages threatening he was “next in line for execution.”
The President recently warned against harming priests and religious leaders after Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle bared the death threats received by David and some priests. The threats, Tagle claimed, supposedly came from someone claiming to be working for the President’s family.
During the assembly of mayors at the Manila Hotel Tuesday night, the President renewed his warning to lawless elements to lay off the religious leaders, saying he will be their enemy if the priests are harmed.
“There will never be a time for the life of me that I would even suggest harming — the slightest harm that you can inflict on priests and the religious people,” he said.
Duterte told the public not to take his joke asking addicts to rob and kill rich bishops seriously. He said his joke was merely out of anger towards some priests who allegedly were praying for his death.