• Duterte has created a team to seek dialogue with the Church and other religious groups
  • The move is seen as an attempt to appease the Church and the believers
  • The team is composed of Roque, Abella and Saycon

MANILA, Philippines – After his latest tirade, President Rodrigo Duterte has formed a committee in a bid to hold a dialogue with the Catholic Church and other religious groups.

The President’s move, seen as an attempt to mend ties with the Church, came after ‘mocking’ God in his speech last week.  In that speech, Duterte called “the God of the Catholic” ‘stupid’ over the concept of original sin.

Then on Monday, Duterte again lambasted the Church for making all the “idiots” in the Last Supper saints.

On Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque revealed the President has formed a three-man team that will spearhead the planned dialogue with the Church and other religious groups.

Roque said the panel will be composed of himself, DFA Undersecretary Ernesto Abella and Council for Philippine Affairs (COPA) Secretary General Pastor “Boy” Saycon Jr.

While acknowledging the separation of the Church and the State, Roque said it would still be worth talking to the Church; one of the present administration’s foremost critics.

“Hindi po kinakailangan makipag-dayalogo pero minabuti na po ng presidente, sige buksan natin ang proseso ng dayalogo,” said Roque during a press briefing in Davao City.

[There is no need for a dialogue, but the President thought it best to open the process of a dialogue.]

“Unahin natin ang Simbahang Katolika [Let’s start with the Catholic Church],” he added.

The President has been heavily criticized by several lawmakers, allies and critics alike, for ‘crossing the lines’ in his criticism of the Church by calling God ‘stupid’ and questioning the Catholic belief which was based on Bible teachings.

The Palace, however, defended him and said the President is entitled to his personal belief.