MANILA, Philippines – After days of outrage over his "God is stupid" remark, President Rodrigo Duterte cited his favorite Bible passage to show that "there is a time to vicious" and to be "a shit."
On Thursday, June 28, he paraphrased verses from Ecclesiastes 3, a passage he also often quoted during his 2016 presidential campaign.
"You know if there is a page in the Bible which I read almost everyday, it's the Ecclesiastes 3: For every season there is always a time, there's a time to be calm, there’s a time to be silent, there's a time to be poignant, a time to be subdued and a time to be vicious," Duterte said.
He was speaking before the Vice Mayors’ League of the Philippines event in Panglao, Bohol.
"We are not precluded from being sometimes vicious because, as the Ecclesiastes says, it's the Bible, there is always a time – a time to be proper and a time to be a shit," the President, a Catholic, said, giving his own take on the famous Bible passage.
"Ganoon talaga ‘yan (That's really how it is). And all because this is planet earth, it is not heaven, and so the constraints that are placed on a soul is not really applicable to us," he added.
In an interview after his speech, Duterte said he would never apologize for calling God stupid.
"No, I will not do that. Definitely, not in a million years," said the Chief Executive.
But aside from these remarks, Duterte was more subdued with how he spoke of the Catholic religion, even speaking of his "deep" faith in a "forgiving" God.
"I have a God. I have deep and abiding faith in God....Ang Diyos ko ay forgiving (My God is forgiving)," he said during his speech.
He also referred to Jesus as "Jess," in a speech that appeared to make light of religious groups' anger over his controversial statements.
Keeping silent, for now
The President even said at the start of his address he was told by his staff to avoid picking a fight with priests during his speech since it was being streamed live.
"Sabi dito, 'Mr President, we are live on TV and on Facebook. 'Wag kang magmura, wag kang maghanap ng away sa mga pari (It says here, 'Mr President, we are live on TV and Facebook. Don't curse, don't pick a fight with priests)," said Duterte, supposedly quoting staff who had left him notes for his speech.
The President said he has decided to "keep [his] silence," at least for now, ostensibly referring to his thoughts on religion.
"There will be a time to speak and I will maybe, in the coming days, and for now, I will just keep my silence for I want to see how the nation reacts," he said.
He also appeared to say that his controversial statements directed at the Church were meant to "shake the tree" and "test the limits" of public reaction.
"I'm shaking the tree...It could be quiet and there's something dark, something bright, something sinister and there is something which is, we just go along with life however presented to us by the different sectors," said Duterte.
He also said if norms, "Tatanggapin natin 'yan (We will accept it)'cause they tell us how it should be. I don't. Ako yung tao na mahilig sa (I'm the person used to) – I really want to just test the limits of everything, even when I was young."
Duterte's remark about God triggered strong criticism from various groups and personalities. (READ: Duterte violated Constitution by calling God stupid – Brother Eddie)
He initially responded by assigning a 4-member committee to hold a dialogue with religious groups over the matter. – Rappler.com
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 email@example.com.