President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday once again criticized the Catholic Church, saying members of the clergy do not seem to grasp the gravity of the country's drug menace.
In a speech in Nueva Ecija, Duterte decried the church’s criticism of his war on drugs, which has claimed over 3,000 lives.
Duterte, known for his exaggerated remarks, said priests should perhaps take the illegal drug methamphetamine (shabu) so they would understand what goes on in the mind of a drug addict.
“Hindi ko maintindihan ang simbahan. Alam nila eh. Alam ng mga parish priest kung gaano kalala, and yet they say that… extrajudicial killing,” Duterte said. “Eh lahat ng durugista, alam mo naman, kayo dito, alam niyo pag ang tao bangag, lumalaban talaga yan.
Kaya dapat ibang pari mag shabu para maintindihan nila. I recommend one or two of the bishops. Eh sa kanila walang shabu, pero asawa meron,” he added, in jest.
Duterte again defended the rising number of people being killed in police operations. The president stressed that drug suspects who are killed in legitimate police operations usually fight back, resulting in their deaths.
Police records show that over 2,000 have been killed in legitimate police operations, while another 4,000 deaths are considered as “deaths under investigation," the police term for vigilante killings. Only around 1,000 of deaths under investigation are deemed drug-related, according to police.
Duterte, a Roman Catholic just like 80 percent of Filipinos, again slammed the “hypocrisy” of the members of the clergy. “Pareho lang kami. Ako pati ang mga pari namin sa Davao, pareho lang tig-dalawa, tatlong asawa,” he said.
In his speech, Duterte said if God is mad at him, he can come down from heaven and help him solve the drug problem in the country.
“Kung ang Diyos galit sa akin, you are invited to come down, o Jesus Christ, kayong mga bishops, sa inyo na iyan,” he said, referring to his “narco-list” which contains the names of officials involved in the illegal drug trade.