Robredo reminds Duterte: ‘We are obligated not to offend religious beliefs’

Mara Cepeda
Robredo reminds Duterte: ‘We are obligated not to offend religious beliefs’


Vice President Leni Robredo says President Rodrigo Duterte, who had called God 'stupid,' should be more sensitive to Filipinos' beliefs

MANILA, Philippines – Days after President Rodrigo Duterte’s “God is stupid” remark, Vice President Leni Robredo reminded him and other politicians they are expected to respect Filipinos’ religious beliefs. 

On Thursday, June 28, Robredo was asked to react to Duterte’s controversial remark that insulted the Catholic Church and other religious groups in the country. (READ: Duterte: Bible says there’s ‘a time to be vicious’)

Ako, kailangan nating paalalahanan hindi lang si Pangulong Duterte, pero iyong lahat na government officials kagaya namin, na totoo na mayroon tayong karapatang magpahayag ng saloobin natin, totoong may karapatan tayo ng sariling pananampalataya, pero lahat ng karapatan may kaakibat na obligasyon,” said the Vice President. 

(I am reminding not just President Duterte but all government officials like us that it is true that we have the right to express our beliefs and our faith, but all rights come with obligations.) 

At obligasyon natin na siguruhin na hindi natin mao-offend iyong mga sensitivities ng mga tao, hindi natin nao-offend iyong religious beliefs ng mga tao, hindi nang-iinsulto, dahil iyon iyong obligasyon natin. At ito iyong kaakibat ng ating karapatan,” she added. 

(And it is our obligation to ensure we will not offend the people’s sensitivities and insult their beliefs. That comes with our rights.) 

The Vice President explained Duterte should be more sensitive when it comes to dealing with Filipinos’ religious sensitivities, precisely because he is the President. 

Obligasyon ito ng lahat, pero lalong-lalo na naming mga government officials – lalong-lalo na ng Pangulo, kasi kung ano iyong kaniyang sabihin, ang epekto nito, sa ating lahat,” said Robredo. 

(This is everyone’s obligation, most especially us government officials – but most especially the President, because what he says affects us all.)

Catholic leaders, like Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, had already criticized Duterte for mocking God.  

Duterte then formed a 3-person committee to hold a dialogue with the Catholic Church to “lessen the rift between the government and Church.” –

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.