Duterte invited to Pope’s Day

Pia Ranada
Duterte invited to Pope’s Day
Pope Francis' envoy to the Philippines invites President Rodrigo Duterte to the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, but Malacañang is not certain if the Chief Executive will attend

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte was invited by the Papal Nuncio in the Philippines, Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia, to attend Pope’s Day or the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul.

This is what EDSA People Power Commission member Boy Saycon said in a press briefing on Wednesday, June 27, as the President faces intense criticism over his calling God “stupid.”

“I may disclose to you, the Papal Nuncio has invited the President in the Nuncio this Friday because it’s what we call the Day of the Pope,” said Saycon, one of the officials Duterte tapped to dialogue with religious groups.

On Friday, June 29, the Catholic world celebrates the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. Saint Peter is the first pope. 

The event, said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, will take place at Caccia’s residence. The Apostolic Nunciature to the Philippines is in Malate, Manila.

However, it’s not clear if Duterte will be attending.

“I do not know if the schedule of the President will permit it and I don’t know if the President will ask us 3 to go,” Roque said, referring to himself, Saycon, and Foreign Undersecretary Ernesto Abella.

The Papal Nuncio is the envoy of Pope Francis to the Philippines. Caccia met Duterte for the first time when he paid a courtesy call in Malacañang last December.

The announcement of the Papal Nuncio’s invitation comes as Malacañang tries to explain Duterte’s remarks that have been deemed “offensive” and even “unconstitutional” by religious leaders.

In his recent speeches, Duterte himself has not shown signs of backing down, even repeating his tirade. (READ: Cardinal Tagle on Duterte’s rant vs God: Don’t be distracted– Rappler.com

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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.