Sara Duterte calls CBCP head ‘worse than a hundred Dutertes’

Pia Ranada
The President's daughter says her father understands the meaning of the EDSA People Power Revolution more than 'delusional hypocrites' like Archbishop Socrates Villegas

DEFENDING DUTERTE. Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte reacts to a letter written by Archbishop Socrates Villegas. File photo by Manman Dejeto/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The eldest daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte slammed Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas for claiming her father “single-handedly defaced” the memory of the EDSA People Power Revolution.

For this, she declares that Villegas is “truly, madly, deeply worse than a hundred President Dutertes.”

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said her father understands the significance of the 1986 revolution, recalling how, on that day, he had told his children never to forget the event.

“On the evening of February 25, 1986, I was playing in dreamland when my father interrupted my slumber and told me to get dressed because we have to go downtown.

“While we were huddled in the car, he told us, ‘Timan-i ninyo ning gabhiona ni. Ayaw ninyo kalimti (Remember this night. Never forget.),'” she recalled.

She was responding to a letter Villegas wrote to EDSA Revolution icon Jaime Cardinal Sin which was posted on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) website.

Villegas, CBCP president, did not mention President Duterte’s name in the letter, but he alluded to the administration by mentioning how recent controversies, like the extrajudicial killings linked to the President’s drug war, have “dimmed” the spirit of People Power.

He wrote: “By the corner of EDSA and Ortigas, I want to sit and weep as I remember the four glorious days of February 1986 now dimmed. The glory now flickers in the darkness of fear and terror again. The songs of peace now drowned by the cuss words of hate that invite murder. The bloodless revolt now stained by the blood in our streets and street gutters. The statistics of unresolved murder continues to rise and not a single one has been investigated and brought to justice.”

He also spoke of the “raping” of the EDSA spirit.

“What the pimps of that spirit have done cannot remove the purity of EDSA’s valor and the nobility of its lesson. The EDSA spirit is pure worth celebrating always. It is people who have raped it,” wrote the religious leader.

‘Delusional hypocrites’

Though she recognizes the importance of the EDSA Revolution, Mayor Duterte lamented how it has become the “standard definition of freedom for our country” which is being “forced down our throats” by people like Villegas and the “elite.”

While Villegas has recently been vocal about the controversies facing the Duterte administration, Mayor Duterte claimed he had been silent in the face of the failures of the administration of Benigno Aquino III, son of democracy icons Ninoy and Corazon Aquino.

Villegas, she said, is among the “delusional hypocrites” who do not understand why many people have pinned their hopes on her father.

Mayor Duterte wrote: “You preach about freedom as if you invented it, as if it is your gift to us. Let me tell you what freedom is. It is to live a life that is free from your selective moral standard. This is what the meaning of EDSA is.”

Critics of the Duterte administration, including Vice President Leni Robredo, have expressed disappointment over the “simple” and “quiet” EDSA Revolution anniversary being held this year.

But the Palace has said the government is “not downgrading” the celebration and is keeping it low-key given the other major events it is organizing this year, such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.