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Palace: Duterte open to dialogue with Catholic Church

President Rodrigo Duterte is open to a dialogue with Catholic Church leaders he has been at odds with over various issues, his spokesperson said Thursday.

At a press briefing in Malacañang, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte is open to talking to the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) considering that the organization is led by someone from Davao, the president's hometown.

The CBCP is headed by Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles.

"Sa tingin ko po iyan iyong isang advantage na kababayan ni Presidente ang tumatayong representante ngayon ng CBCP," Roque said.

Critics said Duterte's harsh words directed at priests may have emboldened the killers of priests, three of them gunned down in the last six months.

Duterte denied persecuting priests even as he lashed out anew on Wednesday at the Catholic Church, bringing up supposed misdeeds of the clergy including liaisons with women. — RSJ, GMA News