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Philippine priest attacks 'evil' Duterte through verse

Redemptorist writes poem condemning idea that president might run for vice presidency in upcoming elections

Philippine priest attacks 'evil' Duterte through verse

Father Amado Picardal is pictured with members of the Philippine police in Butuan City in Mindanao in this file photo. (Photo: Father Picardal)

A Catholic priest has written a poem in which he attacks plans by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to run for vice president in next year’s election.

Redemptorist priest Father Amado Picardal wrote the poem titled The God I Don’t Believe In earlier this week after hearing that Duterte was planning to run.

Philippine presidents only serve one term in office, but the constitution does not stop them from running for the vice presidency after leaving office.

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Duterte’s spokesman said recently that Duterte was waiting for a sign from heaven as to whether to run in the next election.

“If the president [Duterte] thinks it is God’s will, he will make the proper announcement in due course,” said spokesman Harry Roque.

Father Picardal, however, said in his poem that he “does not believe in the god Duterte.”

I don’t believe in your god who turns a blind eye as you order the mass murder of over 35,000 drug users and pushers

“No, I don’t believe in your god … The god who tolerates your evil ways, who doesn’t mind when you violate the commandments when you curse those who oppose you, when you commit adultery and when you lie and bear false witness against those who oppose your rule,” the priest wrote in the poem posted online.

Father Picardal also accused Duterte of enriching himself while in office and refusing to declare his wealth.

He was referring to accusations made in 2017 by opposition lawmaker Sonny Trillanes, who claimed Duterte kept billions of pesos in secret bank accounts and challenged the president to declare his assets.

Duterte refused, saying he was not “stupid” enough to provide a lawmaker with evidence against himself.

Father Picardal also criticized Duterte’s alleged involvement in human rights violations such as extrajudicial killings.

“I don’t believe in your god who turns a blind eye as you order the mass murder of over 35,000 drug users and pushers including those who oppose your regime while you fail to go after the big drug lords who are close to you,” Father Picardal wrote in the poem.

The clergyman has characterized Duterte’s god as a god without mercy and compassion like Duterte himself.

“No, I don’t believe in your god, Digong [Duterte’s nickname]. A god without mercy and compassion. A god who is unjust, a god without love. A god you made in your image and likeness … Soon, you will join your god in hell,” he said.

I believe in the god of mercy and compassion who is on the side of the victims

In contrast, Father Picardal said, the real God is a god of mercy and justice.

“I believe in the god of mercy and compassion who is on the side of the victims and hears the cry of the poor and the oppressed. He liberates evil like you [Duterte], who cast down the mighty from their thrones and lifted the lowly,” he wrote.

In 2018, Father Picardal claimed he escaped an assassination ordered by Duterte because of his views on extrajudicial killings.

“My sources tell me the order came from Malacanang [the president’s official residence]. All I know is that there is a death squad determined to kill me,” he told reporters at the time.

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