MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Reviving his rants against priests and bishops of the Catholic faith, President Rodrigo Duterte encouraged Catholics to just build their own chapels so they won't need to go to church.
"You build your own chapel in your own house and pray there. You don't have to go to church to pay for these idiots," he said on Monday, November 26, in a speech in Davao City.
He spent a chunk of his speech claiming bishops and priests pocket money offered by mass-goers and criticizing the imposition of fees for baptisms, marriages, and services for the dead.
"Pagka baptism bayad...pagka namatay bayad," said Duterte, president of a predominantly Catholic country. (When someone is baptized, you have to pay...when someone dies, you have to pay.)
But he quickly clarified that Catholics should still go to church if the church is run by priests he is friends with.
"Pero 'yung ibang pari kaibigan ko. Magbigay ka sa Ma-a," he said, referring to an area in Davao City. (But some priests are my friends. You give Mass offerings in Ma-a.)
Duterte again made claims about Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, among the Catholic Church leaders most outspoken about the government's bloody campaign against illegal drugs. This time, the President said he suspects the bishop himself is into drugs.
"David! Nagdududa nga ako bakit ka sige ikot diyan nang gabi. Duda tuloy ako, putang ina, nasa droga ka," said Duterte. (David! I'm having my doubts because you keep going around at night. I have suspicions, son of a bitch, that you're into drugs.)
The bishop replied: "No, sir, I'm not into drugs of any sort, whether legal or illegal. Never been. I only help in rehabilitating people addicted to drugs. I partner with the anti-drug abuse coucils/offices of the local government units of Caloocan, Malabon, and Navotas in tihs endeavor."
David continued, in his statement sent to Rappler: "Thank God I am not even taking any maintenance drugs yet. I only take vitamins with fruit shake blended with malunggay in the morning. You might want to try it, sir. It will do you a lot of good. God bless you."
Duterte meanwhile, in a speech delivered at the inauguration of the Davao City Bulk Water Supply Project, again defended his controversial "God is stupid" remark and his beef with the "original sin" tenet in the Catholic faith. (READ: In 24 hours, Duterte breaks vow to stop hitting the Church) – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.