BY JOCELYN MONTEMAYOR and GERARD NAVAL
PRESIDENT Duterte rambled on Tuesday night that an angry Pope Francis supposedly removed Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle as Manila Archbishop for allegedly meddling in politics.
The President made his claim as he delivered his speech during the 2020 General Assembly of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP).
“Wala tayong bishop ngayon. Hindi mo ba alam? Tinanggal. Binigyan lang tayo ng caretaker ngayon na pari. Walang bishop ng Maynila. Kaya nagalit si Pope kasi nakialam sa politika.
Iyan ang totoo diyan (We have no bishop. You don’t know? He was removed. We were only given a priest as caretaker. There is no bishop in Manila. The Pope was angered for his meddling in politics. That’s the truth. That’s why we were given an officer-in-charge. We don’t have a bishop. Tagle was out. He was investigated. That is an open secret),” he said.
He alleged Tagle was investigated for supposedly funneling funds to the “yellows” or the political opposition.
“Tignan mo nagamit nila ang pera. Kinontribute nila doon sa yellow-yellow. Tignan mo nangyari (He contributed [money] to the yellows. That is the real story),” he added.
Last December, Tagle was appointed by Pope Francis as the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, which is one of the leading departments in the Holy See.
Subsequently, Bishop Broderick Pabillo was designated as the Apostolic Administrator of the Manila Archdiocese while Tagle’s replacement has yet to be named.
In an interview, Pabillo said statements made by Duterte should just be dismissed outright as these have no basis. “No need to dignify unfounded accusations,” he said.
This was seconded by Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) vice president Bishop Pablo David, who said Duterte’s allegations were simply unbelievable.
“Unbelievably ludicrous!” said David in his Facebook page.
CBCP – Public Affairs Committee executive secretary Fr. Jerome Secillano similarly rejected Duterte’s claims versus Tagle, saying it was obviously meant at sowing intrigue.
“Insinuating something on the reason for his appointment to a Vatican post apart from his capability and qualities to lead that position, is simply twisted and reeks of intrigue,” said Secillano.
In the same speech, Duterte likewise ranted about the alleged corruption and abuse involving Church officials.
The President had been criticizing the Catholic Church in the past calling it “hypocritical” and its bishops and priests as fools. At one time, he had even suggested that bishops should be robbed and killed and killed.