Palace calls Bishop’s challenge to Duterte ‘silly, childish, absurd’

January 16, 2019
Salvador Panelo

NOVALICHES Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani, Jr.’s dare for President Rodrigo Duterte to walk the streets without bodyguards is not only “outright silly and childish but absurd as well,” Malacañang said  yesterday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, in a statement, claimed that the dare “was evidently made with the sole purpose of getting publicity for the challenger.”

Panelo issued the remark after Bacani, in an interview over Church-run Radio Veritas on Tuesday, issued the “friendly challenge” to the President.

The Novaliches bishop’s dare came on the heels of Duterte’s recent remarks urging bystanders to “rob” and “kill” moneyed Catholic bishops.

Panelo further asked Bacani to be more judicious in his tirades against the President, “especially when it comes to challenging the latter in his element, so as to avoid being embarrassed.”

Panelo said Duterte would have accepted the challenge, but “security protocols are observed for his protection” as President, a position that Bacani “has never held and might never assume in his lifetime.”

“The President does not have to prove anything about his being a courageous and selfless public servant,” Panelo said.

“Such gutsy reputation precedes him and is one of the reasons which enthralled the Filipino masses who longed for a strong and decisive action man as their country’s top leader, which they have not experienced with his predecessor,” he added.

The Palace official also claimed that Duterte “patrolled” Davao City alone when he was still its mayor, “disguised as a taxi driver, to go after criminals who prowled on citizens at night.”

“He also went around the city alone on his motorcycle to examine the happenings around his turf at a time when Davao City was a killing field,” Panelo said.

“There was also a hostage-taking incident which hogged banner headlines where he substituted himself as a hostage for the release of the hostage victim,” he added.