• Duterte cancelled his planned trip to the Vatican to personally apologize to the pope
  • He said the trip could be an exercise in duplicity as he has already sent a letter of apology
  • Duterte lashed out at Pope Francis when his visit to the country last year caused massive traffic jams in Metro Manila

President-elect Rodrigo Duterte canceled his plan to visit the Vatican to personally apologize to Pope Francis for ‘cursing’ him.

“No more. That’s enough,” Duterte, who will be sworn into office on June 30, told reporters when asked about his planned trip to the Vatican. He pointed out that he has already sent a letter of apology to the pope.

“The trip could be an exercise in duplicity,” Manila Bulletin quoted the incoming president as saying.

In one of his speeches when he announced his presidential candidacy, Duterte, who served as mayor of Davao City for over two decades, lashed out at Pope Francis when his visit to the country last year caused massive traffic jams in Metro Manila.

“It took us five hours to get from the hotel to the airport. I asked who was coming. They said it was the pope. I wanted to call him: ‘Pope, son of a b***h, go home. Don’t visit anymore’,” Duterte said; adding he was forced to wet his pants because he was stuck in traffic.

His comment drew flaks from the Catholic Church and other sectors, but it made little impact on his popularity.

Duterte sent a letter of apology to the pope and received a response from the Vatican signed by the Substitute for General Affairs to the Secretary of State of the Holy See, Archbishop Angelo Becciu; writing in behalf of the pope.

The Vatican letter read: “His Holiness Pope Francis has received your letter of 21 January 2016. He appreciates the sentiments you have expressed. The Holy Father offers the assurance of prayers for you, as he invokes upon you the divine blessings of wisdom and peace.”

During his first press conference after the elections on Sunday, May 15, Duterte told members of the media that he had changed his mind.

“I might go there [Vatican] and they will say, ‘We are taking back the prayers’,” he said.

“But you know God is my friend and I ask him if I’ve been forgiven for all the sins I’ve committed on this planet,” he said; adding that God replied: “Now and forever”.