By Mario Casayuran
Detained opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima on Thursday defended the Catholic Church in the Philippines against the recent tirade by President Duterte for deliberately calling Catholicism as “not a good religion.”
De Lima, a devout Catholic, said she cannot remain silent while Duterte ‘’continues to undermine the very institution that continues to speak out against the injustices and abuses happening in this country.’’
“I am a Catholic. I was baptized and raised as one. I’ve always endeavored to nurture and strengthen my faith as I grow older. My faith has deepened in these most trying times of my life,” De Lima said in press statement from her detention cell at the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters in Quezon City.
“I therefore take deep offense at Mr. Duterte’s incessant vilification, insults, and attacks against the Catholic Church, singling it out among the active religions in the country,” she added.
In an interview with Kingdom of Jesus Christ founder Pastor Apollo Quiboloy in Davao City last June 8, Duterte reportedly said he has no plans to celebrate the 500th year of Christianity in the Philippines come 2021 because the coming of Christianity allegedly “started our travails and agony and sorrow.”
Duterte said that Catholicism is “not a good religion” supposedly because the coming of Christianity marked the start of the Philippines’ 400-year subjugation under the Spaniards.
According to Bishops Ruperto Santos of Balanga, Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao, and Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon, the Catholic Church will still celebrate the 500th year of Christianity in the Philippines in 2021 even without President Duterte’s support.