Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said he is willing to withdraw from the presidential race if Pope Francis was offended by his profanity-laced pronouncements about the head of the Catholic Church during a speech on Monday.
"'Pag sinabi ni Pope, nasaktan siya, then go ahead, and I will withdraw tomorrow," said the tough-talking mayor in a live television interview on Monday night.
"I would address myself to the highest hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. If you think I have offended — which, in the first place, I never really meant to do it — kung hindi ninyo ako mapatawad, the hierarchy o yung Vatican, sabihin ninyo: 'We are offended and we demand that you withdraw from the presidential contest.' And I will tomorrow withdraw. Walang problema 'yan."
Duterte has come under fire for his comments about the Pope has come under fire for cussing out the pontiff during his rambling declaration speech, which included an anecdote about getting stuck in traffic during last January's Papal Visit.
The mayor said it took him five hours to travel to the airport because of road closures.
"Sabi ko, 'Bakit?' Sabi sarado na [ang daan]. Sabi ko, 'Sinong darating?' Sabi si Pope. Gusto kong tawagan, 'Pope, p— ina ka, umuwi ka na. 'Wag ka nang bumisita dito," Duterte quipped.
Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines president Archbishop Socrates Villegas has slammed Duterte's pronouncements.
"Vulgarity is corruption. When we find vulgarity funny, we have really become beastly and barbaric as a people. When a revered and loved and admired man like Pope Francis is cursed by a political candidate and the audience laugh, I can only bow my head and grieve in great shame. My countrymen has gone to the dregs," said Villegas.
In an ambush interview after his speech, Duterte said he thinks Pope Francis won't take issue with the comments.
"Compassionate si Pope. Maiintindihan niya ako. Kayo man maihi sa loob ng sasakyan, matutuwa ba kayo?" he said. —JST, GMA News