By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
President Rodrigo Duterte renewed his criticism of the Catholic Church last Friday over statements made against his administration, affirming, he has “a serious problem with the church.”
During his speech before the PDP-Laban campaign rally at the Victorias City Coliseum, the president said priests should stop using the pulpit, pointing out, “There is a separation of the church and the state.”
“Nobody can stop a citizen from criticizing me,” the president explained but, pointed out, if priests want to criticize him, do it as a “Filipino Citizen” and not as a member of the church.
Duterte also slammed the church over alleged sexual abuses committed by several priests and clergyman, restating his own claims of past abuses.
“Even the pope said it when he went to Dubai, he admitted the nuns were being used by the priests,” he added.
Towards the end of last month, Rev. Fr. Aaron Buenacosa, parish priest for the St. Joseph the Worker Church in Cadiz City, was accused of molesting a four-year-old girl.
Based on a statement provided by the victim’s grandmother, Buenacosa would invite the minor to his room but, since December, she has refused to comply.
Subsequently, while giving the victim a bath, her mother noticed inflammation in the child’s genital area. The minor was hesitant at first but later admitted to being molested by the clergyman.
Police have since filed multiple charges of rape against the priest before the Cadiz City Prosecutor’s Office./DGB, WDJ