MANILA, Dec. 3, 2015 – Following Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s less-than-flattering reference to Pope Francis in a recent speech, a Catholic lay group issued a statement Tuesday underscoring the importance of elected officials who know how to respect themselves, the dignity of fellow humans, and fundamental institutions like marriage.
“A person aspiring to become the nation’s leader should always be respectful of himself, his office, and of other people,” stressed Filipinos for Life in their Dec. 1 press release.
The group went on to ask rhetorically how Duterte can be trusted to uphold the basic rights of other innocent people if he can verbally abuse someone as respected as the Holy Father.
Besides finding that Duterte “greatly erred” in cursing Pope Francis, they further decried what they consider to be the presidential candidate’s “wanton behavior” with regard to his public admission to adultery.
“If he has no respect for the indissolubility of marriage,” they added. “What other institutions crucial to the moral well-being of the people is he willing to tamper with?”
Sanctity of life, family, marriage
“We value sanctity of life, family, and marriage, above all – institutions that form the very foundation of every sound society. We are most disappointed that he chose not to uphold his marriage vows, which would have been the most vivid expression of his manhood, unlike the persona he projects where women are mere expendable persons to satisfy his sexual needs,” the group lamented.
While already aware of apologies issued on the mayor’s behalf, Filipinos for Life still demand Duterte himself to apologize to the country’s 80 million Catholics for the “extreme disrespect” he has shown Pope Francis and the Catholic faith as well as to the women he has had relations with.
“We also ask his supporters to discern well whether Mr. Duterte is indeed fit to be their choice as the next president of the country. This is a time for serious introspection and prayer; and we must listen to our informed conscience which acts as God’s voice in our hearts,” they explained.
According to them, the recent events raise serious doubts about Duterte’s readiness for the highest office in the land, given that the Philippines deserves a morally upright and competent leader who will revere his position as a sacred duty to serve God and his countrymen.
“We must also consider all the consequences of our actions, the positive as well as the negative effects of our decisions, in the short term and the long term, and what these decisions say about us,” the group added. (Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCP News)