Duterte declares war vs Catholic Church
By ROGER M. BALANZA
Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on television yesterday waved an alleged marriage certificate of a local Catholic priest and a woman, vowing to bare more names of priests in amorous relations, in an admitted retribution for a slur on him and his family and the priest’s refusal to have his parish assist in the distribution of city government-funded Yuletide gifts to poor families.
The married priest, Fr. Pete Lamata of St. Mary’s Parish in Buhangin, according to Duterte contracted marriage in 1882 in Bohol with an Asuncion Baluran two years after being ordained in 1980.
I hate to do things against my will, but I and my family are being directly attacked, said Duterte to explain his Sunday assault on the priest in his television program Gikan sa Masa Para sa Masa.
Pressing with his threat, Duterte said he knew of several husbands dropping wives sired by priests, whose names he said he would reveal later.
Warned by co-host councilor Mabel Acosta about being excommunicated by the Catholic Church for his assault on the clergy, Duterte said he is ready and could not care if he is damned.
“If I would be in the company of priests in heaven, I would rather go to hell,” he said.
Asked if it would happen that Fr. Lamata is not the same Pedro Lamata in the marriage contract with the Baluran woman, Duterte said he is standing by his sources, relatives in Bohol who provided him the document. But if its not him, then I’m saying sorry to the woman.
Priest are married to the Church, that is why they could not marry. But Fr. Lamata has contracted marriage with a woman while a priest. We will ask this question: Who is Fr. Lamata’s concubine: the Church or the woman? said the mayor.
Duterte said Fr. Lamata had refused to accept the Yuletide gifts of rice, noodles and sardines that his parish would have distributed, in what he sees as a act mired by politics. Fr. Lamata is said to be a cousin of former Third District Congressman Roy Lopez, an estranged political ally of the mayor, who reportedly met with the priest before the Yuletide gifts were turned down. Worse, he said, Fr. Lamata reportedly had made known the gifts were tainted with the blood of victims of summary executions in the city, for which Duterte is being blamed by some sectors.
But the mayor said Fr. Lamata had gone overboard with his verbal attacks during one homily at Sunday Mass, when he feigned ignorance of his daughter Vice Mayor Sara Duterte’s name and described her as “Inday Badiday.”
This priest is not only unchristian (by refusing to distribute the foodstuffs for the poor). He also not only attacks but attacks with sarcasm, said Duterte.
Duterte said he could only see politics at Fr. Lamata’s action, as the distribution of the foodstuffs through the Catholic parishes was approved by Archbishop Fernando Capalla. We wanted the gifts to be available to all, so we asked the church which is non-political. Those in the other side of the political fence could be denied the foodstuffs if these are distributed by our group the Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod, he said.
Duterte also said the summary killings of suspected criminals is an old political issue leveled against him and scored Fr. Lamata for using killings as an issue during the priest’s homilies.
Duterte has repeatedly denied hand in the killings, but had accepted responsibility for them not because he is involved but because he has operational control over police. I have taken responsibility for the police failure to solve the killings because I have control over police, he said.