Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has called Mr. Duterte’s anti-religion rants as a diversionary tactic to cover up for his administration’s failure to arrest the worsening peace and order situation in the country.
De Lima, a known human rights defender, made the statement after Mr. Duterte stepped up his challenge for a public debate about God’s existence amid the continued spate of killings among local government officials.
“There might be method in his madness. Duterte is desensitizing us to the every day reality of continued EJKs and assassinations of LGU officials by shocking our senses with his anti-religious rants,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 340.
“He (Duterte) diverts our attention from the crises of peace and order and governance he has created by engaging in senseless and deeply offensive rants on religion,” she added.
Unrelenting on his tirades to the Catholic Church, Mr. Duterte has vowed to step down from presidency if anyone who has gone to see God and have a “selfie” with Him would come back and prove the existence of God.
Note that before Duterte issued his anti-Catholic remark, there was already a growing public clamor on the killings of three high officials of a local government unit in a week.
As of the Senator’s writing, the slain LGU officials include Mayor Antonio Halili of Tanauan City, Batangas Mayor Ferdinand Bote of General Tinio, Nueva Ecija and Alexander Lubigan of Trece Martires, Cavite.
De Lima, who has been acknowledged as a human rights defender under threat by the Amnesty International, said Duterte’s indifference to the killings and preoccupation with issues on religion is bizarrely stranger than fiction.
“The people supposedly elected a President in 2016, not a barbershop pilosopo or a wannabe evangelist for a new religion,” she said.
“This is a President whose most inner core is driven by manipulation and deception. He does not provide us leadership. He only gives us insecurity and doubts about our future as a nation,” she added.
Duterte has relentlessly launched his scathing tirades against the Catholic Church’s hierarchy and made the members of its clergy as his favorite targets for his incessant attacks.