Duterte said kill the bishops -and his word became flesh

Updated: March 2, 2019, 9:45 PM
Editor’s note: The escalating conflict between the Catholic Church and President Rodrigo Duterte has now come to a head with death threats against Catholic priests and open calls from Duterte to kill bishops. Here is a take from Rappler.

President Rodrigo Dutert’s violent tirades against clergymen begin to take flesh in the form of death threats.

What Duterte says, Duterte gets.

By Paterno Esmaquel II, February 28, 2019


MANILA, Philippines – Every night, Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David walks around his church, the San Roque Cathedral, clutching his rosary and praying.

People close to David know this habit of his.

But in November 2018, it came as a shock that even the President of the Philippines knew his nightly routine. How did this intelligence information reach the commander in chief? And why?

“David! Nagdududa nga ako bakit ka sige ikot diyan nang gabi. Duda tuloy ako, putang ina, nasa droga ka,” said Duterte in a November 2018 speech in Davao City. (David! I’m having my suspicions because you keep going around at night. I have suspicions, son of a bitch, that you’re into drugs.)

The 59-year-old David, one of the bishops most critical of Duterte’s war on drugs, knows he is being watched. He recently received death threats from anonymous senders, forcing him to skip an awarding ceremony on Tuesday, February 26, and to avoid going home to Caloocan for now.

In his speech, David said Duterte “was the first to pose a grave threat” against his life.

Duterte had threatened in a speech on December 6, 2018: “Eh puta, sinabi ko sa ‘yo, maghanap ka ng obispo diyan na nasa droga, ‘di ba, putulan kita ng ulo.” (Fuck, I told you, find a bishop who is into drugs, and I will chop off his head.)

Duterte made these remarks a day after he urged citizens to kill “useless” bishops.

At that time, David – vice president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines – was the most prominent bishop he had linked to the illegal drug trade.