"Remember also the 3 R's of life-reform, repent and redemption."
He’s at it again. By “he” we mean a certain Rodrigo Roa Duterte, who it seems, cannot make up his mind whether to be the President of the Republic or a standup comedian. In his latest outlandish outburst Mr. Duterte mocked Catholics for wasting too much time venerating saints.
“They should instead pray to Saint Rodrigo,” Mr. Duterte intoned Catholics. Digong’s insensitive remark came on the occasion of All Saints’ Day when the faithful flocked to the country’s cemeteries to remember the dead and pray to the saints to keep their dearly departed in the cusp of God’s hands.
But this President by his actuations and blasphemous utterances has shown he is not a believer in God. I do not have any quarrel with atheists. Although they don’t believe in God, atheists do not proselytize nor make controversial statements. The President, however, crosses the red line when he makes those remarks offensive to Catholics. In previous statements. Duterte cursed Pope Francis and called God “stupid.”
“To be considered a saint, a person must show repentance,” said Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani as reaction to Duterte’s self-proclaimed sainthood. Filipino saints San Lorenzo Ruiz and San Pedro Calungsod must be turning in their graves if “Saint Rodrigo” joins them in this hallowed circle. Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David asked for Filipinos to pray for Duterte.
Not in fear of God but more of the people’s wrath against the administration candidates in the May 13 midterm elections, Palace officials said the President was only joking. This usual damage control defense of Duterte supporters is more laughable than the President’s attempt at humor.
But mocking Catholics and proclaiming himself “Saint Rodrigo” is not a joke, No one is laughing. If at all, Digong’s remark has only strengthened the faith of Catholics to pray even more for survival against inflation, spiraling prices of prime commodities and the militarization of government agencies.
Bishop David said the country is being led by a “very sick man” as he urged Filipinos to pray for the enlightenment of “Saint Rodrigo.”
I don’t have a fixation to criticize Duterte. Most of the so-called hate opinions are of his own making. He is his own worst enemy. Criticisms against the President are drawn from his own his quotable and controversial statements.
“The Philippines is being ruled by a tyrant,” were the parting words of Sister Patricia Fox who left last Sunday for her home country of Australia. The Aussie missionary was deported by the Bureau of Immigration allegedly for participating in protest rallies and demonstrations against Duterte.
Sister Fox denied the charges and said she was only in events that called for government assistance to the poor, hungry and unemployed. According to a recent survey by Social Weather Stations, 12.2-million Filipino households are poor and, with the high cost of living, are having difficulty putting food to the table. The Finance and Trade departments assured the people that the 6.7-percent inflation rate and high prices of prime commodities will taper off by the end of the year. Like millions of Filipinos, I hope the Duterte administration will deliver on its word. If not, the voters will express their suffering through the ballot in the midterm elections on May 13 next year. For sure, this will have a bearing in the SWS survey on whether Digong still enjoys the people’s support. More than an election of senators, district representatives in the House and local officials, next May’s elections is also a vote of confidence or no-confidence on one Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
Does Mr. Duterte care or not what the voters say? Will he just shrug it off if they reject his PDP-Laban Party candidates? I won’t be surprised if he, true to form, says “damn those stupid voters and their stupid God.”
To “Saint Rodrigo” we say it’s not enough to Build, Build, Build like the Romans did before the downfall of Rome. Remember also the 3 R’s of life—reform, repent and redemption, Amen.