Incoming president Rodrigo Duterte called out the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church, accusing its bishops of selectively following its supposed separation from the state.
In an exclusive interview with GMA News anchor Jessica Soho on Tuesday, he also said that he believes in God, but not in religion.
"For the record, I believe in God, but I do not believe in religions. Period. And the most hypocritical institutions in the Philippines, guess who?"
Duterte, whose comment over Pope Francis' visit to the country last year drew a firestorm of protest from various sectors, said he doesn't begrudge the Church of its right to intervene if an issue becomes a moral one.
However, he expressed doubts if the bishops themselves believe in the concept.
"I do not begrudge if the bishops would stick to it. But it is really a separation and they would have to go out if the issue becomes a moral one or if it becomes an interest... Pero kayo bishops, I would like to ask you, kayo ba ay naniniwala sa separation of Church and state?" he questioned.
"Kasi nung panahon ni Gloria Arroyo...kayong karamihan nanghingi ng sasakyan, mga Montero, and you call that a separation of state?" he said.
Duterte was referring to an incident in 2009, when Butuan Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos requested a vehicle from former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for his birthday.
It was also during the Arroyo regime when Malacañang had an office for "religious and ecclesiastical affairs" which was headed by a Cabinet-level functionary.
"You allowed the prostitution of you," Duterte said.
He also brought up his experience of abuse allegedly involving a priest.
"And the abuses. You asked me publicly to name the priest. So I did. And you said to me, you go to court," Duterte said.
The incident happened in 1956 when he was student, he said, and the court would no longer have had any basis.
"Do not cultivate hypocrisy or you will get it. Tatamaan kayo dito," he warned. — APG, GMA News