MANILA President Rodrigo R. Duterte has apologized to his all-forgiving God but noted that he was not saying sorry to any Church or religious leader.
Duterte made his apology in a closed-door meeting with Jesus Is Lord Church Worldwide (JILCW) Founder and President Bro. Eduardo Villanueva at the Malago Clubhouse in MalacaAang Park on Tuesday.
Also present during the meeting were Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Bong Go, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, and lawyer Angelino Villanueva.
Bro. Villanueva earlier urged the President to apologize for his statements about God and the Church but Duterte was firm in his stand that he would only apologize to God and nobody else.
Sorry, God. I said sorry, God. If God is taken in a generic term by everybody listening then that's well and good," Duterte said in a video posted on the official Facebook page of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).
I only apologize to God and nobody else. If I wronged God, then he would be happy to listen to my apology. Why? Because my God is all-forgiving. He does not remember past hurts. Why? Because God created me to be good, not bad, he added.
Duterte, meanwhile, reminded Villanueva and other religious leaders anew about the separation of Church and state, saying it is wrong to use God to personally attack him and his administration.
Remember that there is a division between Church and state. You can criticize us anything at all from the garbage collector to generals and even to Vice President and Senator, Duterte said.
But never, never use the name of God as a front to attack government because that is not the proper way to do it. There is a separation of state and church. Do not use God to attack me. That is not proper and I'm sure that is not what God wants, he added.
The President further stressed that people created a concept of God on their own and it was human nature.
If you feel that somebody is doing it wrong, you must be talking about the wrong God or it must be a God that is not my God, Duterte said.
Duterte earlier formed a four-man panel with the Catholic Church and other religious leaders to push for healing amid their spat.
Members of the panel include Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ernesto Abella, EDSA People Power Commission commissioner Pastor "Boy" Saycon and Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency