Bishop Pablo Virgilio David
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Thursday said it was gravely alarmed on President Rodrigo Duterte’s remarks against Catholic bishops, noting the continued attacks on the government’s critics.
“Statements that could embolden the violence against priests and other religious persons are gravely alarming in the face of continuing attacks against those deemed as critics of the government,” CHR spokeswoman Jacqueline de Guia said in a statement.
Last Dec. 5, Duterte attacked the Catholic Church again but this time, he threatened the lives of bishops.
In a speech at the awarding ceremonies for the 2017 Presidential Award for Child-Friendly Municipalities and Cities (PACFMC) Malacañang, Duterte said: “[I]tong mga obispo ninyo, patayin ninyo. Walang silbi iyang mga gagong iyan. All they do is criticize.”
READ: Duterte’s attack vs Catholic bishops
The rights body then highlighted the efforts of Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, who has been called out by Duterte in his speeches.
“Churches and priests, such as in the case of Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Caloocan, work directly with communities and families, who continue to suffer the many forms of human rights violations allegedly stemming from the government’s drug campaign,” De Guia said.
Duterte previously claimed in his speech that David was into drugs.
“David,” the President said at one point in his speech. “Nagdududa tuloy ako bakit sige ka ikot kapag gabi, duda tuloy ako sa droga ka.”
Read: Duterte threatens to cut off bishop’s head
The Commission also advised the government to take the bishops’ criticisms as “valid challenges and as means to improve” instead of “degrading” bishops’ rights.
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