In a press conference in Davao City on Sunday, May 22, the 16th incoming Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte lambasted the Catholic Church as the "most hypocritical institution" as he accused the bishops of asking favors from him and other public officials.
"Do not think you are the moralizing agents of the society. As long as you are a human being, you are going to fall down... You're all pageantry," Duterte said.
The presumptive president, who won a 6.2 million lead over his closest rival on the May 9 elections, castigated the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) for releasing a pastoral letter dissuading the electorate in the predominantly Catholic country from voting for him, according to an ABS-CBN News report.
Duterte even invited the Catholic bishops to a debate before he assumes his presidency on June 30 so he can expose the sins of the Catholic Church. He also accused the clergy for violating their vow of celibacy.
"You sons of whores, aren't you ashamed? You ask so many favors, even from me," said the presumptive president, adding that he has letters to show for it. He pointed out that this is an example of corruption and a violation of the separation of church and state.
During former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's administration, several bishops were tagged as "Pajero bishops" after they admitted to an expose revealing that they own expensive cars supposedly used to reach far-flung areas.
"Some people here in the Philippines can't even afford to have food to eat or get medicine while you're enjoying the money of the goddamn people," Duterte berated.
A baptized Catholic, Duterte's spiritual adviser is Apollo Quiboloy, head of a non-Catholic religious group in Davao, the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. Duterte claims that he believes in God but not in religion.
"Why would I have to go to a human being to whisper my sins and ask for forgiveness from him?" he reasoned.
According to Rappler, Duterte has been widely criticized for cursing the pope, been linked to vigilante death squads, and publicly acknowledged adultery, vulgarity, and sex jokes including an Australian missionary woman raped and killed in a 1989 prison riot.