MANILA, Philippines – Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David denied President Rodrigo Duterte's accusation that he steals from mass offerings.
Bishop David in a Facebook post on Friday, November 23, said, "My parents never taught me to steal."
He alluded to rumors about Duterte's health when he said: "I think he has confused me for someone else. You see, people who are sick sometimes do not know what they are talking about, so we should just bear with them."
Duterte, in a speech on Thursday at the inauguration of the Cavite Gateway Terminal, named a certain "David" who supposedly asks for contributions from mass-goers only to steal from them.
David said he believes the President was referring to him as he is the "only Bishop 'David' in the CBCP (Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines)," a body whose officials have been critical about Duterte's campaign against illegal drugs and remarks about religion.
Duterte had said: "Ikaw, David, tumahimik ka ha. Sige ka lang hingi ng contribution diyan sa mga – saan ang pera ng mga tao? Ang gago sige lang hingi, may second collection pa."
(You, David, you be quiet. You keep asking for contributions – where is the people's money? The fool even has a second collection.)
"Iyong mga offerings, iyong mga pinya, mga avocado, saging, saan napupunta 'yan? Gusto ninyong malaman? Gusto ninyo ng video? Ibigay ko sa inyo. Doon sa pamilya niya," the President continued.
(Those offerings, the pineapples, avocado, where did they go? You want to know? You want a video? I'll give it to you. To his family.)
The President went on to say that priests with girlfriends should just get married in order to catch up with his record.
"Dapat makapag-asawa na kayo at humabol kayo sa akin. Naka-dalawang asawa ako pati 4 na girlfriend (You should get married so you can catch up to me. I already have two wives and 4 girlfriends)," said Duterte.
Outspoken against summary killings
David, CBCP vice president, is among the Catholic religious leaders who have been vocal about his concerns over Duterte's bloody campaign against illegal drugs. (READ: Caloocan Bishop Pablo David: Shepherd of his slaughtered sheep)
In homilies, he has described murders by death squads in his city and called vigilantes "termites" and "new Judases."
His territory, the Diocese of Caloocan, was where many of these killings took place.
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.